Thu, Jun 25, 2009 - Page 1 News List

City upgrades draw mixed reaction

DISSATISFACTION The DPP criticized an ad-hoc committee's decision as biased against DPP-ruled regions, while the KMT told the opposition to stop complaining

By Loa Iok-sin, Jenny W. Hsu and Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Meanwhile, Taoyuan County Commissioner Eric Chu (朱立倫) of the KMT asked committee members to explain why the county's bid failed.

Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) said the results were “unfair” to Yunlin and Chiayi counties.

“This is just another example of how the government often overlooks the needs of the nation's agricultural counties,” Chen said.

“After turning down our application, I wonder if the government has a better plan for our agriculture and farming villages?” he said.

Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in the two counties.

Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) also voiced concern for the future of the nation's agricultural sector.

“The [committee's] decision may result in a larger gap between rural and industrialized areas in the country,” she said. “The government should come up with a plan to balance development in urban and rural areas.”

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a press conference that the result of the review was politically motivated and urged the ministry to tell the public why the review committee approved the merger application of Taichung City and County, but not the proposal of Tainan City and County, which is equally qualified.

She said that spending only one day to review all 11 proposals was sloppy work on the part of the committee.

Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (?]) said he suspected the committee's decision was politically motivated because Tainan City and County were both headed by DPP officials.

The review committee for the mergers and upgrades of the nation's counties and cities does not understand Tainan, Hsu said.

“Because the committee does not understand Tainan, [committee members] asked how can Tainan qualify to become a municipal city when its population does not even meet the 2 million threshold,” he said.

“Tainan has about 1.8 million people, very close to 2 million. As the nation's old capital, Tainan's value is determined by its rich cultural assets, not by its population,” Hsu said.

KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), who represents constituents in Kaohsiung City, declined to comment when asked whether she planned to run for Kaohsiung mayor next year.

However, she rebutted DPP criticism that the government had deliberately denied DPP-ruled cities and counties the chance to be upgraded to a municipal city.

“If the ministry had decided before the review which application to approve, the central government would not have passed the planned merger between ­Kaohsiung City and County, both of which are ruled by the DPP,” she said.

Taipei County's application had been the subject of speculation, with media reports saying it would be approved to block former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), a popular DPP heavyweight, from running against Chou.

Su Tseng-chang yesterday applauded Taipei County's approval and joked that if “Operation Destroy Su” was what it took to make the approval possible, then he would gladly play a part.

At a separate setting yesterday, the KMT called on Su Tseng-chang to stop being disgruntled because he failed to have Taipei County upgraded to a municipal city during his term as county commissioner.

Su Tseng-chang should not piggy back on Taipei County's case to boost his exposure, KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said.

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