Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 1 News List

KMT plans new sale of Central Investment Co

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) wants to sell the Central Investment Co by June 30 to resolve issues involving contentious assets and streamline itself into an “election machine,” KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) said yesterday.

The KMT will open the company for public bidding, although the exact timetable would not be clear until the process got under way, King told a press conference at KMT headquarters in Taipei.

The KMT failed in its two previous attempts to sell the company, in 2006 and in February this year. The company has a net worth of about NT$20 billion (US$619 million) and is the last of the party’s most controversial assets, following the sale of its Policy Research and Development Department, three media outlets and its former headquarters.

“Political parties owning businesses is not acceptable in the democratic world, and the KMT must show the determination to close its businesses as soon as possible for its own development,” King said.

He wouldn’t say what the party was asking for the company, and he declined to say if Chinese investors would be allowed to bid.

“We will consider public opinion and avoid unnecessary concerns,” he said.

The KMT’s administration and management committee presented a report on the handling of party assets yesterday afternoon.

Speaking at the Central Standing Committee meeting, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in his capacity as KMT chairman, reiterated his determination to resolve the issue by the end of this year.

However, Ma said presenting a “solution” to the asset issue did not mean that the party would no longer have any assets.

“Handling party assets is part of the KMT’s determination to transform itself,” he said.

Ma has promised to donate the proceeds of the KMT’s asset sales to charity. However, King said donations would depend on the sale and the party’s financial situation.

The KMT’s annual personnel and miscellaneous expenses, about NT$1.5 billion, were a heavy burden, he said. The KMT would start a new streamlining process once the Central Investment Co sale goes through to ease its financial burden, he said.

“We will transform the party into an election machine. The party will be like a ‘Transformer’ during elections. The organization division will play a major role,” he said.

Lin Yong-ruei (林永瑞), head of the KMT’s administration and management committee, said the party will drop its appeals in its lawsuits against the Broadcasting Corp of China (BCC) over two plots of land in Banciao, Taipei County, and in Hualien County.

The former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government sued the BCC for occupying six plots of government-owned land as part of its efforts to return the KMT’s stolen assets to the public. The cases are in their third trial after the BCC won in the second trial.

Meanwhile, the DPP said the KMT should stop deceiving the public and start fulfilling its pledge to deal with its stolen assets.

“Many KMT chairmen have said the party assets problem would be resolved during their term. But so far we have seen no improvement,” DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU

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