HK engineers demand institution president quit as fallout from Sha Tin-Central link scandal continues

19-Mar-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A group of Hong Kong engineers have demanded the head of their professional body be removed for his handling of a row over a construction scandal at the city’s most expensive railway project, the Sha Tin-Central link.

The group of eight members on Sunday also accused the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers of using delaying tactics to block their bid to convene a special general meeting, so members could vote on a no-confidence motion against president Ringo Yu Shek-man.

Yu, who made an unexpected appearance at the press conference hosted by the engineers, denied the accusations, and said there were proper procedures to follow. Yu said he respected different views presented by members.

“We [and our critics] share the views that it was important to safeguard the public interest and the profession’s reputation,” Yu said.

The two-hour press conference boiled down to a debate between both sides over the procedural details of convening a special general meeting, with Yu’s critics remaining unconvinced about why it took so long for the institution to sort out the formalities. The saga began in January when the institution issued a statement that claimed the new platforms at the troubled Hung Hom station were structurally sound, despite the fact the government investigation into the scandal was ongoing.

By that time, Yu had replaced Philco Wong Nai-keung, the MTR Corporation’s projects director, as the institution’s head after Wong’s departure in connection with the scandal.

Albert Lai Kwong-tak, a member of the Professional Commons think-tank and a core member of the petition campaign, said: “Even now there are different views, including the expert witness views, that the safety of the Hung Hom station could not be established.

Substandard may have affected a second platform at Hung Hom station

“It was totally inappropriate and premature for the institution to issue a statement in January. The expression of inaccurate or biased views will erode public confidence in the engineering profession.”

Lai said he wanted to know why the statement was made and who had issued it, adding that the institution’s top governing body, the council, had reportedly not been consulted on the drafting of the statement.

Another member, Lee Chi-ming, claimed about 120 institution members – well above the required threshold of 60 – had submitted a petition three weeks ago asking for a special general meeting and an explanation of the decision, but the institution had so far refused to take action.

“We are still in the process of verifying the identities of the signatories,” said Peter Wong, a former institution president who has been tasked with handling the petition for a special general meeting. “There are some signatories whose personal particulars do not concur with the membership records of the institution.”


Category: Hong Kong

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