Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) mayors and county commissioners yesterday issued a joint statement urging the passage of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program bill, which has been stalled in the legislature, while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ordered the DPP to make a concerted effort to ensure the bill’s passage.
In a rare move, all of the DPP’s mayors and county commissioners urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to stop obstructing the passage of the eight-year NT$882.4 billion (US$29.15 billion) program, with the mayors of the four DPP-ruled special municipalities attending a news conference advocating the program.
“We are not advocating the program for our own cities’ development ... but for national unity and [efficient] resource allocation. Parties are urged to cease irrational opposition for the sake of the nation’s economy and equal regional development,” Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) said.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The infrastructure program — which consists of the construction of railways, aquatic infrastructure, renewable energy, digital infrastructure and urban development — would play a key role in transforming industry, bridging the rural-urban development gap, and improving living quality and national competitiveness, Chen said.
The plan, with a focus on railway construction in cities outside Taipei and New Taipei City, would help develop central and southern cities, Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said.
The government has invested NT$1.2 trillion in Mass Rapid Transit construction in Taipei and New Taipei City, but central and southern Taiwan has not been financially supported to develop transport systems, Lai said.
The lack of infrastructure in Tainan results in population outflow and an aging population. The infrastructure program would solve that development inequality, Lai said.
The program is a government-led investment in the domestic market to boost the nation’s economy when the global economy has stagnated, Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) rolled out the “Love Taiwan 12 Major Construction Plans,” which were not opposed in the legislature, although there was criticism of the efficiency of the projects, Lin said.
The planned budget for railway construction in the program is about NT$300 billion, just one-fourth of the budget allocated to Taipei and New Taipei City, and the program would address “transportation justice,” Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said.
KMT Taichung and Taoyuan legislators, despite having expressed approval of the program during negotiations with the mayors, are nevertheless actively involved in obstructing the review, Lin and Cheng said.
“The KMT has ‘kidnapped’ its lawmakers who expressed approval of the program [and the hijacking] would hold back the KMT’s development,” Cheng said.
Meanwhile, the president ordered her administration and DPP lawmakers to take immediate action to ensure the passage of the bill, despite the opposition.
“The public has entrusted us with administrative responsibility and the majority of legislative seats, so we have an obligation to move the nation forward,” Tsai said.
The infrastructure program and pension reform are the top priority bills for this legislative session, because they invest in and relieve the financial burden of next generation, she said.
“The KMT’s opposition is confusing. We have not seen the KMT identify which of the ‘Forward-looking’ program projects they are against,” Tsai said.
She asked the DPP caucus to ensure that other key legislation, including draft amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) and Statute for Industrial Innovation (產業創新條例), as well as draft bills on the regulation of nonprofit organizations, rental housing development and foreign recruitment, are passed by the end of the year, if not in this legislative session, which is expected to recess at the end of this month.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational
INJURED: Several KMT lawmakers fought their way through DPP members into the legislative chamber, while others lay on a driveway to block Chen Chu Scuffles broke out at the Legislative Yuan yesterday as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers again occupied the legislative chamber, stymieing a report by Control Yuan presidential nominee Chen Chu (陳菊) and a question-and-answer session. The KMT lawmakers showed up at the back door of the chamber at about 5am and tried to enter, but were stopped by several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers who were guarding the door. Scuffles broke out as the KMT lawmakers tried to force their way through the door, injuring legislators on both sides. KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) tackled DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), while DPP Legislator Wu