MTR linked to company involved in CY Leung payments row
With the dust swirling around Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's involvement with Australian engineering and property services firm UGL, it is worth noting the company's other links with Hong Kong.
UGL, according to its website, has since 2002 had a contract with MTR Corp to maintain a fleet of 120 passenger cars which service the Kwun Tong line. At the same time, MTR also provides consultancy services to UGL.
Raymond Chien Kuo-fung, the chairman of MTR, according to UGL's 2014 annual report, has been an independent director since 2012. You would have thought that given his position with the MTR and the MTR's involvement with UGL, this would have raised questions about his independence.
UGL speaks fulsomely on its website of its relationship with the MTR. "In Australia, UGL, MTR Corp and John Holland are joint-venture partners in Metro Trains Melbourne." This contract began in 2009 and will continue for eight years with the option of an extension for seven more years.
The MTR provides specialist consultancy services to the UGL subsidiary managing the maintenance and logistics for 1,050 RailCorp passenger cars. It would appear that UGL will not be at a loss for contacts in Hong Kong when it comes to rolling over its contracts with the MTR.
Macquarie makes the grade
The Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) was feeling very pleased with itself yesterday on account of its elevation in The Economist world rankings of MBA programmes. It rushed out a press release headed "MGSM Ranked Among the World's Top 50 MBA Programs".
The ranking places MGSM's MBA programme at No1 in New South Wales, No3 in Australia and No5 in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Professor Alex Frino, the dean of MGSM, "the outstanding result reflects the school's increased emphasis on the realities of doing business in a global context". So where exactly in the top 50 did MSGM rank? It was ranked 49, in between Arizona State University's WP Carey School at 50, and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
School for hackers?
Lanxiang Vocational School in Shandong is famous on the mainland for its computer training programmes and notorious overseas as the breeding ground for "China's secretive army of hackers", according to the website Week in China. It has been singled out by Western media as the source for a number of hacking and phishing attacks. As the cyber wars have escalated, speculation about Lanxiang as a school for hackers has also grown.
The school was owned by the People's Liberation Army for about 10 years until around 2000, which has further fuelled speculation. Although it no longer owns it, the school continues to boast that it is "the only private-run vocational school which supplies technicians to the army". Such is the school's reputation that state firms and government bodies are eager to hire its students.
But is the school really as good as it is cracked up to be? Not if the reports of mainland newspapers are to be believed. The Zhihu Daily, an internet newspaper, sent one of its journalists undercover to study at the school, supposedly to see if the hacking stories were true. He found that most of his classmates were from rural areas and spent most of the class snoozing or playing with their smartphones.
He dropped out after 20 days and reported that Lanxiang's reputation for producing tech whizz-kids capable of hacking US targets was as unbelievable as a Chinese farmer building a space shuttle. Whether this is an exercise in disinformation is anyone's guess.
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