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Thu, May 25, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Tang willing to face legislature

CROSSFIRE The premier said he would be willing to take part in a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan despite his frail physical health

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Tang Fei, second from left, accompanied by Cabinet Secretary-General Wei Chi-lin, left, walks past other ministers in front of the Executive Yuan after the new Cabinet's first meeting yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES.

High-ranking officials said yesterday that Premier Tang Fei (唐飛) will make his policy report on June 2, in accordance with requests made by the Legislative Yuan. But the Cabinet meanwhile expressed its hope that legislators would postpone the interpellation procedure until July in view of Tang's health.

"Premier Tang says he absolutely respects the Legislative Yuan's decisions, including interpellation procedures," said Vice Premier Yu Shyi-kun.

"However, we earnestly request the Legislative Yuan to consider the `human element' and to allow Tang more time to recover [from recent surgery]," Yu said.

Representing the Cabinet, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Yu-hui (張有惠) visited Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Chin-pyng (王金平) yesterday and delivered the request to postpone interpellation procedures.

Tang attended the new Cabinet's first official meeting yesterday, which passed a proposal to reorganize the 921 post-quake reconstruction committee into a formal department of the government.

In addition, the Cabinet meeting also approved the "Anti-black gold center" proposal for central, northern and southern Taiwan, "which will be formed as task forces to investigate some particular or important cases," said Minister of Justice Chen Ding-nan (陳定南).

Tang appeared in good physical condition, smiling to media while having his lunch with other Cabinet members and said that he was looking forward to working with the Cabinet.

However, he returned to the Veterans General Hospital after the meeting and did not participate personally in the welcoming tea party. Tang delivered a video recorded speech to Cabinet members and media.

The new premier underwent surgery April 15 to remove a benign tumor from his chest. The wound later became infected, forcing him to return to hospital on May 3.

Tang's doctor suggested that the premier's condition would only permit him to stay in his office for half a day every other day until late June.

His doctor said Tang should not spend more than eight hours per day at the Legislative Yuan to accept an interpellation session by lawmakers before July.

The KMT legislative caucus came out on Tuesday urging Tang to resign immediately because, they said, the premier was physically incapable of facing the challenge of political affairs.

"Let Tang go and do not murder him," KMT lawmaker Chen Chin-pao (陳清寶) said.

Some KMT lawmakers, however, have expressed support for giving Tang one month to recuperate before assuming his full duties, as the DPP, the New Party and the PFP caucuses have done.

Negotiations between parties' legislative caucuses will decide on May 29 how the interpellation will be conducted and when it will begin.

Director of the Government Information Office Chung Chin (鍾琴) also said that Tang insisted on making his policy report to the Legislative Yuan on June 2 and that he was willing to accept the interpellation.

"But, if we want the Premier to take on more duties, it would be best to first give him a couple of days to recover," Chung said.

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