Wed, Mar 13, 2002 - Page 1 News List

TSU demands Lin's resignation

By Lin Mei-chun and Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) -- the smallest party in the legislature, with 13 seats -- is calling for the resignation of Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) over the government's plan to allow Taiwanese firms to build eight-inch chip wafer fabs in China.

TSU lawmakers say the measure would threaten national security and harm Taiwan's economic future. They say Lin, who also serves as the chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, should step down from both his positions to take responsibility for the proposed measure.

The proposal to allow eight-inch wafer investment in China was one of the many recommendations put forth by a cross-party panel of economic advisers formed by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) last year.

Chen had agreed to follow the recommendations of the panel -- in which members of the KMT, DPP, PFP and New Party participated.

The pro-Taiwan party called on government authorities yesterday to postpone implementation of the measure. The party also said that a dozen NGOs that support the TSU would protest in front of the Executive Yuan and the legislature on Friday if the government refuses to delay the measure.

TSU officials yesterday also called into question Lin's decisions as minister of economic affairs, a post he held until the end of January.

TSU lawmakers said Lin "lacked judgmental ability," saying his earlier decisions related to the eight-inch wafer issue were based on misleading information provided by the Industrial Development Bureau.

TSU lawmaker Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) said the bureau, which operates under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, fooled Lin into believing that using 12-inch fabs to manufacture wafers was already widespread. While many chip firms are adopting the advanced technology, they have yet to fully ramp up production.

The TSU says it will take another two years before production at 12-inch fabs reaches top speed. Investment in eight-inch foundries in China should be delayed until then, the party argues.

But business leaders note that it also takes several years before an eight-inch fab can reach full production speed. That's why they need to be able to set up shop in China now, because other firms have already seized the lead.

Defending his deputy yesterday, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said Lin was hardworking, upright and professionally competent. Although he respects the views of lawmakers, the premier said, he also trusts Lin's judgement.

"All legislators are entitled to express their opinions, for which I have great respect," Yu said. "But based on my observations, Lin was competent during his stint as economics minister and is doing a good job as a vice premier."

Lin declined to comment on the calls for his resignation. He also said he believed the documents provided by the Industrial Development Bureau were accurate.

"I have no idea about what information the TSU lawmakers are referring to," the vice premier told the legislature. "I will look into the allegation, but I believe the documents prepared by the Industrial Development Bureau are accurate and reliable."

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