No regrets as Ma prepares to leaveTop News | Charlotte Luo 25 Jun 2019
Outgoing MTR Corp chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said the Sha Tin to Central Link scandal left a stain for the rail operator, but the public should not forget its contribution over the past 40 years.
After his term of 3½ years, Ma will leave the post on June 30 – to be succeeded by Rex Au Yeung Pak-kuen, the head of Lingnan University’s governing council.
A major crisis hit the MTRC when sub-standard work at Hung Hom Station of the Sha Tin to Central Link came to light last year, causing an shake-up in its management.
A project director and three general managers were forced to quit, while chief executive Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen retired early.
Looking back at his tenure, Ma said he had no regrets.
“I have no regret whatsoever, I love what I’ve been doing. I enjoy every moment when I was the chairman,” he said.
“Even during the Sha Tin to Central Link crisis, the team was very united, we worked very well together. If there was any regret, I regret that some colleagues did not do their job up to the expectations of our citizens, causing delay in the Sha Tin to Central Link, which is really regrettable.”
At a farewell tea gathering with media yesterday, Ma said the MTRC has already offered a lot of discount on fares and people should not be entangled in the fare adjustment too much.
He said every time the company reviews the fare adjustment mechanism, it need to meet public demands and balance different factors.
He said only if the company is fully owned by the government will the fare drop and never rise.
But problems will emerge, like financial issues and machine failures, and the service level would decline.
The government held 75.45 percent of the rail operator’s shares on May 31.
As for the Express Rail Hong Kong section, Ma said that the MTRC proposed to China Railway making it more like the MTR. China Railway supported the proposal and will announce soon if it approves the idea.
Currently, passengers need to aboard the train and take the exact seat as shown on the tickets. MTR proposed allowing passengers to choose which train to take for trips between Hong Kong and Futian/Shenzhen North after buying tickets.
Offering advice for Au Yeung, Ma said it is important that he supports the team, faces up to the challenge and be ready for any challenges.
Ma said he did not think apologies in public have become endemic – a comment by former police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung. He said if people make a mistake, they should apologize.