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Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Dec. 1 elections: Lee criticizes EDAC as being useless

NO REMEDY The former president said the package of proposals aimed to help cure the nation's ailing economy were `complete useless' and `truly pathetic'

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN TAICHUNG

Former president Lee Teng-hui, center right, shares the stage with the DPP candidate for Taichung City mayor Michael Tsai, center left, and Taiwan Solidarity Union legislative candidates during a party last night with business managers from the Taichung Industrial Park.

PHOTO: HU WEI-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for the first time criticized the Economic Development Advisory Conference which was held in August, saying the group's members were "clueless about what's wrong with Taiwan's economy."

But the former KMT chairman failed to offer any specific criticism of the group's policy recommendations, instead calling into question its methods.

Lee, who holds a PhD in agricultural economics, said government planners must treat Taiwan's sick economy as their patient. Before coming up with possible remedies, the "doctors" must first correctly diagnose the symptoms, he said.

"The Economic Development Advisory Conference was like the doctors asking the patient what kind of medicine he wants to take," Lee told Taiwan Solidarity Union supporters on a campaign stop in Taichung yesterday.

"The doctors didn't even know what to prescribe. [The meeting] was completely useless ... It was truly pathetic," he said.

The government held the conference in August, producing a package of proposals to help cure the nation's ailing economy.

One of the proposals was the relaxation of the "no haste, be patient" policy on China-bound investment, which on Wednesday was replaced with the policy of "active opening, effective management."

Lee has said the measure would work well, but the government should stress the "effective management" part of its new policy.

In addition, Lee said yesterday the "no haste" policy he introduced as president had slowed the exodus of capital to China. Were it not for the measure, he said, Taiwan's economy would be worse off today than it already is.

Lee said Taiwan's capital flow to China was excessive, like "sucking out too much blood from the human body, which would be harmful to a person's health."

To improve the country's economic situation, Lee said the government must issue public bonds to generate funds for spending on infrastructure.

To improve Taiwan's competitiveness, the solution is not setting up factories in China, Lee said. He said Taiwan's businessmen must know how to make the best of what they have available in both countries.

"First they should utilize China's raw materials and cheaper labor, but set up industrial zones in Taiwan," Lee said. "Then the processed products can be exported to the US and Europe, where the most promising markets are."

Lee yesterday also continued to talk up a proposal to cut the size of the legislature in half. He acknowledged criticism that it was under his leadership that the legislature was expanded.

But the political situation has changed with the passage of time, he said, and the expansion followed the abolition of the Taiwan provincial and national assemblies.

"But now these legislators have been the source of chaos in society, so we demand that it be streamlined," he said.

Also yesterday, Lee, regarded as the spiritual leader of the TSU, voiced his support for the DPP as he told the crowds to vote for mayoral candidate Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) in Taichung.

The TSU has no candidates in the local government elections.

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