Wed, Oct 25, 2006 - Page 1 News List

PFP shocks KMT by approving assets law

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

After being blocked by the pan-blue alliance for more than one year in the legislature, a statute designed to divest the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of its stolen party assets was put on the legislative agenda yesterday.

The statute passed the pan-blue controlled Procedure Committee after People First Party (PFP) lawmakers turned their backs on their political ally over the issue.

The PFP's move came as a shock to the KMT, as the parties had allegedly reached an under-the-table deal on Monday swapping KMT opposition to an arms procurement deal for PFP support in obstructing the statute.

However, just because the statute was put on the agenda is not a guarantee that the legislature would review the bill, as the agenda set by the Procedure Committee still has to be approved by the legislature on Friday.

PFP Legislator Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said the party had agreed to put the statute on the agenda in response to the appeals of the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

But KMT Legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said the statute was targeted at the KMT, rather than an effort to establish a permanent system to fight corruption.

"We find it regrettable that the PFP came around and supported a bill which is full of the ideas of partisan struggle. We are in favor of the anti-corruption movement, but this statute has nothing to do with fighting corruption," he said.

The statute will be referred to the Home and Nations Committee for preliminarily review should yesterday's agenda be approved on Friday.

Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that his party would propose a motion on Friday's floor to let the statute proceed directly to a second reading and bypass preliminary review.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday urged KMT Chairman and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to show his determination to fight corruption by supporting the proposal and moving to resolve the stolen party assets issue.

"Ma has always claimed that being clean is his political motto, and that he would always fight against corruption," Su said.

"Fine. I would ask him to help this proposal move forward and implement it as soon as possible," the premier said.

Su made the remarks when he was approached by the press for comment yesterday.

He condemned the KMT for having stolen money and property from the people decades ago, and for now taking advantage of its legislative majority to boycott the proposal and refusing to return its stolen assets to the people.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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