Leung Chun Ying

Arts hub contest records expected to be released

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am

The government is likely to release records of a 2001 arts hub design competition that might explain if chief executive hopeful Leung Chun-ying had a conflict of interest as a juror linked to one of the contestants.

The Home Affairs Bureau, under public pressure to be more transparent, has sought consent from Leung and the contestant, Malaysian architect Dr Ken Yeang, to unveil competition records relating to both parties. The bureau told the South China Morning Post yesterday that both parties had replied to its request, but did not say if they had agreed to it.

Leung and Yeang have been calling for the release of the records since the controversy arose over a week ago. Former Executive Council convenor Leung says the government should make public the minutes of the meeting and the jury's voting records.

Some Chinese-language newspapers accuse Leung of favouring a design submitted by Yeang's team, which listed Leung's surveying company DTZ as its property consultant. The row escalated when the government announced that Leung had not declared the business connection before the vote.

Leung said he had complied fully with the declaration requirements, and had found out only after the judging process that a DTZ director had, on request, given unpaid advice on land values to architectural firm LWK & Partners and quantity surveyors Davis Langdon & Seah, saying it was a common trade practice. LWK had partnered Malaysian architectural firm T. R. Hamzah & Yeang to join the contest, and Langdon had also worked with the team.

Secretary for the Home Affairs Bureau Tsang Tak-sing told lawmakers on Wednesday that the government should not breach the confidentiality agreement with contestants. The minister said he would consider releasing information deemed vital to the public interest if he failed to gain their consent. He did not say which records would be released.