KCRC chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun was full of praise for his late colleague Yeung Kai-yin yesterday, a far cry from the cutting remarks he made about their relationship five years ago. 'K.Y. has done so much for the corporation and throughout his public service, has worked tirelessly for the good of Hong Kong people,' Mr Tien said. 'How can we repay such a debt?' His comments were far removed from the press conference in 2002 when Yeung tried to quash rumours of a split between himself and Mr Tien. 'Mr Tien is not only the chairman of my company, but also my good friend. Your speculation about bad relations between us is completely wrong,' Yeung said. But Mr Tien, sitting next to Yeung, said he was mistaken. 'It is true we have known each other for many years, but does it qualify us as good friends? I just hope you will not mind what I am saying,' he said. Yeung, who died on Thursday from kidney failure, was Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation chairman from 1996 until Mr Tien took over in 2001. Yeung stayed as chief executive for two more years before retiring in 2003. His tenure at the KCRC was marked by a controversy involving an extra HK$100 million payment to Siemens for a signalling system for West Rail, and project budget blowouts. KCRC chief executive James Blake, who worked alongside the veteran civil servant for many years, said he visited him for the last time on Thursday evening and recalled a decade of rail system expansion under his incisive leadership. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang also visited Yeung hours before his death. The Vocational Training Centre, of which Yeung was chairman between 1998 and 2005, praised him for his radical reforms to manpower training policies.