Parallel tendering violating procedural justice, Tung Chung East Reclamation calling for bids before funding approval

Over half of projects employ parallel tendering, green group and lawmaker denounced violation of procedural justice

LegCo Finance Committee reviewing proposal for Tung Chung East this Friday – Yet tendering started last month

LegCo robbed of power and control over funds

It is not news that the government’s recent ‘white elephants’ have been spewing out scandal after scandal due to lack of supervision – over-budgeting, delays, errors, accidents, breaches of environmental permits, the list goes on. Hence many lawmakers have expressed the wish to scrutinize the government’s funding proposals and amendments more thoroughly, to avoid making the same mistakes. Alas, instead of learning from experience, the government has decided, in shame and anger, to pressure the LegCo with unusual means.

Green Sense and lawmaker Dr. Edward Yiu noticed that the authorities have greatly increased the use of ‘parallel tendering’ – submitting a project proposal to the LegCo to secure funding, while simultaneously confirming tenders and proceeding to openly call for bids. Worryingly, it is found that since its operation from October 2016, the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council has received a total of 34 funding proposals from the government, more than half of which – 18, to be exact – employs parallel tendering (Table 1).

‘The government claims that parallel tendering can “shorten procedures”, but it has weakened the power of the Legislative Council,’ criticized Roy Tam Hoi-pong, Chief Executive (Voluntary) of Green Sense. ‘It would be difficult for the LegCo to propose amendments to the bidding documents and the projects, and the whole consideration process would be rendered meaningless. This is a violation of procedural justice.’ Dr. Yiu has expressed similar disapproval towards the government’s actions. ‘As LegCo members, we have the right and responsibility to raise questions regarding methods of construction, materials used and criteria of the tenders, as well as to put forward motions for amendments, and set funding criteria for proposals. And yet the related departments have already started open tendering before we have completely considered the proposal. This is both imperious and outrageous, and has seriously marred the administration-legislation relationship.’

As an example, Tam cited the Tung Chung East reclamation project proposal, which would be put into consideration at the Finance Committee this Friday. Despite LegCo procedures not being completed yet, authorities have launched open tendering on 30th June. According to Tam, green groups have been expressing concerns over the construction. We have suggested the elimination of the yacht club from the proposal to reduce reclamation area, strengthening inspection on fill materials, an act which would benefit both the construction and the environment (Table Two and Picture). These suggestions have gained the support of several lawmakers, who agreed to follow up the matter in the Finance Committee, and even propose a motion for amendment. Yet now that the government has started tendering, it may as well openly proclaim that all project details are final and no alterations would be accepted.

‘The government’s “tendering first, questions later” tactic leaves lawmakers with only the options of whether to approve or reject a project. And with the pro-establishment camp blindly flanking each and every one of the government’s decisions, the Council would be nothing more than a giant cash dispenser,’ said Tam. He demanded that authorities withdraw the bidding documents, and review its own actions, so as to prevent further division among society.

Table 1. Funding proposals submitted by the government to the Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (Oct 2016 to present)

No. Title Parallel tendering? Bureau/department in charge
778CL Site formation and infrastructure works for public housing developments at Chung Nga Road and Area 9, Tai Po No Transport and Housing Bureau
781CL Infrastructure works for public housing development at Area 54, Tung Chung No Transport and Housing Bureau
186GK Ancillary facilities block at Tseung Kwan O Area 65C2 No Transport and Housing Bureau
111ET A special school for students with mild, moderate and severe intellectual disabilities in Area 108, Tung Chung Yes Education Bureau
70JA Redevelopment of Junior Police Officers Married Quarters at Fan Garden, Fanling Yes Security Bureau
63TR Shatin to Central Link — construction of railway works — advance works(Supplementary Appropriation) Not applicable Transport and Housing Bureau
56TR South Island Line (East) – essential public infrastructure works(Supplementary Appropriation) Not applicable Transport and Housing Bureau
758CL Site formation and associated infrastructural works for development of columbarium, crematorium and related facilities at Sandy Ridge Cemetery Yes Food and Health Bureau
123KA Conversion of the former French Mission Building for accommodation use by law-related organisations and related purposes No Department of Justice
794CL The demolition of existing superstructures at Caroline Hill Road site, Causeway Bay Yes Development Bureau
185GK Reprovisioning of Transport Department’s vehicle examination centres at Tsing Y Yes Development Bureau
281RS Reprovisioning of Tsun Yip Street Playground facilities to Hong Ning Road Park and Ngau Tau Kok Fresh Water Service Reservoir No Development Bureau
272RS Kai Tak Sports Park No Home Affairs Bureau
786CL Tung Chung New Town Extension Reclamation and Advance Works Yes Development Bureau
183GK Reprovisioning of Shanghai Street refuse collection point and street sleepers’ services units to the site on Hau Cheung Street, Yau Ma Tei for the phase II development of the Yau Ma Tei Theatre project No Home Affairs Bureau
440RO District open space adjoining public housing development at Anderson Road No Transport and Housing Bureau
380DS Construction of dry weather flow interceptor at Cherry Street box culvert Yes Drainage Services Department
389DS Upgrading of West Kowloon and Tsuen Wan sewerage Yes Drainage Services Department
393DS Rehabilitation of trunk sewers in Kowloon, Sha Tin and Sai Kung No Drainage Services Department
394DS Upgrading of Kwun Tong preliminary treatment works Yes Drainage Services Department
413DS Enhancement works for Kwun Tong sewage pumping station No Drainage Services Department
356WF Uprating of Tung Chung Fresh Water Supply System Yes Water Supplies Department
363WF Upgrading of Disinfection Facilities in Water Treatment Works Yes Water Supplies Department
357WF Design and construction for the first stage of desalination plant at Tseung Kwan O – Mainlaying Yes Water Supplies Department
185TB Lift and Pedestrian Walkway System between Tai Wo Hau Road and Wo Tong Tsui Street, Kwai Chung No Transport and Housing Bureau
86MM Extension of Operating Theatre Block for Tuen Mun Hospital Yes Food and Health Bureau
87MM New Acute Hospital at Kai Tak Development Area Yes Food and Health Bureau
75MM Redevelopment of Prince of Wales Hospital, phase 2 (stage 1) Yes Food and Health Bureau
352EP A 30-classroom primary school at Tonkin Street, Cheung Sha Wan No Education Bureau
868TH Road Improvement Works at Ma On Shan, Sha Tin No Transport and Housing Bureau
461TH Central Kowloon Route – Main Works Yes Transport and Housing Bureau
63EG Academic building at No. 3 Sassoon Road Yes Education Bureau
765CL Development of Anderson Road Quarry Site Road Improvement and Infrastructure Works No Development Bureau
763CL Integrated Basement for West Kowloon Cultural District Yes Home Affairs Bureau

Table 2. Suggested amendments to the Tung Chung East Reclamation Project

1 Reduce reclamation area on the eastern side of the designated area to keep away from the Brothers Marine Park
2 Cancel reclamation for the yacht club to widen waterway from the artificial island
3 Demand extra pollution mitigation measures at the neighbouring Tai Ho Wetland
4 Demand successful bidders to make public the place of origin of marine and artificial sand used
5 Demand EIA at the sites from which marine and artificial sand used are produced
6 Demand prior discussion on the design and width of the ecology dike
7 Install GPS on all working ships and publish real-time data online


Blue text: the Brothers Marine Park

Green text: Tai Ho SSSI and Tai Ho Wan

Black text: Yacht Club

Dotted-line-enclosed area: Suggested reclamation area