Former KCRC chief shrugs off talk of feud

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2007, 12:00am

Former KCRC chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun says he 'will still be friends' with former chief executive Samuel Lai Man-hay despite revelations of a bitter management feud last year.

Speaking a day after Mr Lai launched his book, The Longest Week, Mr Tien said he found publication of details of closed-door meetings inappropriate but did not see the book as a personal attack.

'We will still be friends when we see each other again.'

Mr Tien said he had not read the book and his comments were based on extracts cited by the media.

He said he had always regarded the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation as being a government-owned organisation that should proactively communicate with the media and be accountable to the public.

The book recounts a nine-day period of turmoil that unfolded last year. Mr Lai - who quit a day after shaking hands with Mr Tien in a gesture of reconciliation - expressed dissatisfaction over a request by Mr Tien during a staff meeting that all staff be public relations-minded.

Mr Tien noted that this was the most surprising point to him, because he had made the remarks with the intention of polishing the corporation's image and had not expected them to be interpreted differently.

He said he did not believe his efforts as chairman had been undermined by the book.

'It was written by Mr Lai. I do not think it represents the views of all several thousand staff members of the KCRC.'

He stressed that the root of the company's internal conflicts had been differences in ideology held by himself and other members of the management.