Fri, Mar 15, 2002 - Page 1 News List

TSU takes aim at Lin's ex deputy

FAB FIGHT Following their offensive against Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi over the possible move of chip foundries across the Strait, the smallest party in the legislature set its sights on vice economic minister Steve Chen


After demanding Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi's (林信義) resignation for his remarks about lifting restrictions on eight-inch chip foundries moving to China, TSU lawmakers yesterday turned their guns on one of Lin's former deputies in the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

TSU caucus convener Hsu Den-kuon (許登宮) said he held vice economic minister Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) responsible for what he saw as faulty information in a report presented in December to a cross-party panel reviewing the chip-foundry issue.

According to Hsu, the report falsely claimed that Taiwan's advanced 12-inch chip foundries were already entering mass production in step with their Western counterparts, whereas in reality the foundries would not ramp up mass production for at least another two years.

Hsu also demanded an investigation from the Control Yuan into possible dereliction of duty on Chen's part.

Speaking to reporters later, Chen said the report in question was only "background information" and could be revised in the process of the panel's discussions.

Chen also pointed out that the panel was still studying an "effective management" mechanism and had not reached a conclusion on the issue. The panel is set to finalize its suggestions by the end of this month.

For his part, Lin told the legislature's Health, Environment and Social Welfare Committee that the report in question, drawn up jointly by different agencies under the economics ministry and several non-governmental industrial organizations, was merely presented as "reference material" to the panel and would not be a decisive factor in the panel's decision.

Meanwhile, TSU deputy convener Lo Chih-ming (羅志明) questioned why an estimate by the Council of Labor Affairs was not reflected in the report.

The CLA estimate predicted 18,000 people would be losing their jobs if the new 12-inch foundries, currently still in a testing stage, could not reach the production volume of eight-inch foundries within five years, according to Lo.

The TSU said on Tuesday that the report had fooled Lin and the panel into believing that 12-inch chipmaking technology was already widespread.

The TSU also called for Lin's resignation as vice premier and chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development over the issue.

Both Lin and the new minister of Economic Affairs, Christine Tsung (宗才怡), have come under fire from the TSU for taking stances in favor of lifting the chip ban before the panel reaches its conclusion.

The TSU wants the government to keep the ban in place until the 12-inch foundries enter mass production and are ready to replace eight-inch technology.

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

Also see story:

Lin Hsin-yi denies TSU allegations

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