I find it unfortunate that your leader 'Time for a merger' (South China Morning Post February 26), appears to support the recent criticisms of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation without presenting the opportunity for some balanced comment.
You suggest that KCRC should not have been given the task of building the West Rail as it had no prior project experience. You are forgetting that in 1975 MTRC was in a similar position however they simply employed the requisite skills, which is what KCRC have done for their projects.
I worked for MTRC on four major projects and currently work as an engineer for KCRC on the West Rail. The project is going very well and, despite the current negative 'spin' in the press, the financial control has been very good, according to my experience. The reported increase of $1.53 billion on the whole project is in fact a very modest increase on a project of this type. By comparison, on the MTRC's Airport Railway, the increased cost for Tsing Yi station alone exceeded this figure. Why are the politicians and commentators not asking MTRC to reveal the airport railway figures? I can assure you they would make very interesting reading. On the other hand, KCRC's skill in driving the initial West Rail cost down from $64 billion to around $46 billion is consistently ignored by commentators.
There has been much reference to the perks and salaries of senior KCRC staff, yet MTRC managers have surely enjoyed similar packages - even better with the windfall share issues they have gained. In both cases, I would say the packages are modest compared with the Hong Kong private sector where obscene remuneration is often paid at the expense of minority shareholders.