MTR Corporation chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang has warned of possible delays to the opening of the South Island Line due to “complicated” engineering works at Admiralty station. The line, scheduled for operation this year, was 95 per cent complete, he said. But he added the situation was more “complicated” at Admiralty where Sha Tin to Central Link works were underway in addition to South Island Line works. He said MTR would reveal whether the line could open by the end of this year at the end of next month. When Ma took over the reins earlier this year, he said that he was expecting to open the South Island Line (East) this year. The line was initially scheduled to be in operation by December last year, but MTR announced in November 2014 that the opening would be pushed back by six months due to difficulties excavating at Admiralty station. In 2015, the opening was again pushed back to the end of this year. Ma also said on Friday that MTR would review its controversial fare mechanism with the government by the end of the year, and make an announcement on the matter in the first quarter of 2017. He added a public consultation on the mechanism was completed last month. Earlier this year, the government requested the railway giant to complete an early review of its mechanism next year – one year ahead of schedule. The review was prompted by MTR ticket price increases since the mechanism came into effect in 2009. The mechanism was introduced after MTR merged with Kowloon-Canton Railway in 2007. Fares were supposed to rise or fall, according to a formula that took into account changes in wages for transport workers, inflation and productivity. But wage increases and high inflation meant there has never been a fare reduction. It is understood the issue was identified by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor during a closed-door meeting with pro-establishment legislators as one of the “three mountains” the government had to tackle in order to mitigate adverse public sentiment towards the administration. The other “mountains” were controversial management of public housing malls by The Link Reit, repeated MTR fare increases and the offsetting mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund, which allows bosses to settle severance or long-service payments through their contributions. The next Chief Executive Election will be held on March 26 next year.