Western rail questions

As a taxpayer, frequent Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp (KCRC) rider, and future user of the KCRC's Western Corridor Railway, I wonder why the 14 consultancy subcontracts for that project were so hastily awarded without the need for public tenders.

The exorbitant price of the project has been a subject of debate for some time. What the list in your article ('KCRC rail deals under scrutiny,' South China Morning Post, August 3) failed to include was the country of origin of the 14 firms, though most seem to be British and Australian.

The world's most efficient railways are in Japan, so why are no Japanese firms involved? Were only British firms invited to participate? Is the KCRC also guilty (like the Airport Authority) of giving lucrative infrastructure projects to companies based in so-called Western countries? HARRY K C CHAN Kowloon