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Fri, Jan 14, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Amendments to land law approved


KMT and DPP lawmakers yesterday joined hands to pass the third and final reading of amendments to the controversial Agricultural Development Act, with members of the greatly-outnumbered New Party boycotting the process.

New regulations concerning agricultural community land re-zoning (農村社區土地重劃) regulations were passed after a lengthy, article-by-article review, and an approval by vote of any article which was contested, a technical obstacle used by New Party lawmakers in an attempt to obstruct the proceedings.

Elmer Feng (馮滬祥), one of the few New Party lawmakers who operated against the majority of lawmakers on the floor of the legislature, said the New Party did not boycott the regulations out of any "ill-will."

"We did it to call attention from other legislators to the rules of procedure and the importance of inter-party negotiations. When the legislature passed regulations [earlier this week] to raise salaries for local representatives, the opinions of the New Party were totally ignored," Feng said.

"It destroyed the inter-party negotiation mechanism at the legislature, in effect sabotaging the existing system. It also led to discord between the parties. We were forced to do this," he said.

Feng's colleague, Feng Ting-kuo (馮定國) expressed hope that the regulations would in fact benefit people whose houses were destroyed in last year's quake.

"We hope the regulations will help people in earthquake-affected regions rebuild their homes through a land-for-land scheme," Feng Ting-kuo said. "We hope this can happen as soon as the regulations go into effect."

Lawmaker Hsieh Chi-tai (謝啟大), also of the New Party, said she doubted whether the agricultural community land re-zoning regulations would really help.

"We have to remember that those people with destroyed houses that were mortgaged get only a `favor' from the government -- a five-year suspension of their loan repayments," Hsieh said.

"This does not mean that they will be exempt from paying for houses that are no longer standing. Starting from the sixth year, they will have to pay not only their bank loans but also the interest generated during the past five years," she said.

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