Editorial : Mode of operation of the MTR should be reviewed

【明報專訊】THE GOVERNMENT is to set up a commission of inquiry headed by Justice Michael John Hartmann, a retired non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal, to carry out an independent investigation into the incident of shortened steel bars at Hung Hom Station of the Shatin-Central Link. The public is concerned about the commission's scope of duties and the direction of the investigation to be specified by the government. The string of exposés concerning the construction of the Shatin-Central Link has everything to do with passenger safety. The authorities must find out the truth and who should be held responsible. However, the investigation should also contain an in-depth review of the mode of operation and management of the MTR and its relationship with the government. Over the last decade, the MTR has developed into an enormously complex body whose main business is estate development and commercial activities. As railways have become a minor business, the MTR has become more and more incompetent in managing railway construction projects. Even though the government is the MTR's major shareholder, it pursues a laissez-faire policy. If these problems are not rectified, the public will witness more and more signs of failure.