KMT, DPP figures point fingers over Rebar saga

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 1

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday criticized the government for failing to prevent a run on The Chinese Bank, while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should do more to help deal with the problem.

Financial problems within the Rebar Asia Pacific Group recently led to two of its member companies applying for insolvency, which in turn triggered a run on The Chinese Bank, also a member of the group. As a result, the bank was taken over by the government on Friday.

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) should have stepped in sooner than it did, KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) told a press conference.

Tsai added that the FSC should be abolished as "it is as useless as an appendix."

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said FSC officials had turned a blind eye to what had been going on at The Chinese Bank since November last year.

"We suspect that the FSC gave the Rebar Group too much free rein. About two months ago, FSC Chairman Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) guaranteed [the bank's ability to operate]. Can he explain how the run on the bank happened?" Lai asked.

The government wouldn't have had to waste taxpayers' money on bailing out The Chinese Bank if the FSC had done its job better, KMT Legislator Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) said.

"This incident proves that the government is not capable of managing problematic financial institutions. As a result, a conglomerate made large sums of money and taxpayers were saddled with debt," she said.

DPP Legislator Lin Su-shan (林樹山), meanwhile, told a press conference that the KMT was the least qualified party to comment on the matter.

"Rebar Group chairman Wang You-theng (王又曾) has been a member of the [KMT's] Central Standing Committee for a long time. Although he did not run for re-election last year, he helped his brother, Frank Huang (王事展), to get elected," Lin said.

Lin demanded that Ma use his influence to convince Wang, who fled to China the day after two Rebar Group companies applied for insolvency, to come back to Taiwan.

"The KMT's former secretary-general, Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正), is in China. Ma should ask Lin to bring Wang back to Taiwan," the DPP legislator said.