A decision on how to punish the contractor held responsible for the Sha Tin piling scandal has been delayed after Housing Authority members failed to reach a conclusion during a four-hour meeting yesterday. The Housing Authority building committee decided to postpone until Saturday the decision on what penalty should be imposed on Zen Pacific, the main piling contractor of the Yuen Chau Kok Estate project. It also delayed a decision on how many of the recommendations of an independent report on the scandal should be adopted. Substandard piling affected the structural safety of two newly built 34-storey housing blocks that the authority decided must be demolished at a cost of $250 million. Committee chairman Daniel Lam Chun said it did not want to push through any conclusion on the report before carefully considering the views of all parties involved. 'As the issue has wide implications and the public is very concerned about it, we don't want to rush to reach a conclusion before committee members have had enough time to digest it,' he said. The committee yesterday listened to the views of Zen Pacific and its parent company, Wai Kee, on the independent report. Four of the nine Housing Department staff named in the report also attended the meeting to defend themselves against allegations raised in the report that they failed to monitor the piling work. It was understood that the department had formulated punishment proposals against Zen Pacific and Wai Kee based on the report's recommendations. It suggested not granting contracts to Zen Pacific and companies of the same group, and that this should extend to group directors. It said any lesser punishment would fail to deter similar scandals. The group currently has at least three public housing projects worth $1.1 billion under way and its main clients are the Mass Transit Railway and the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation. Zen Pacific's spokesman John Champion said the company objected to any domino-type penalty against the group's firms. He said it was inappropriate to arrive at any conclusion on penalties as the anti-graft body was still investigating the piling case. A group of employees from Zen Pacific and Wai Kee's eight subsidiary companies yesterday issued a letter to Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, Housing Authority chairwoman Rosanna Wong Yick-ming and other senior government officials urging them to drop the proposed total ban on Wai Kee group companies. They said the ban could jeopardise 2,000 jobs and lead to serious consequences.