Sat, Jan 04, 2003 - Page 3 News List

KMT convenes seminar to brainstorm new proposals

GIVING ADVICE Lien Chan said the meeting was held to explore solutions to `black gold' politics, direct transport links and national health insurance fee hikes

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Chairman Lien Chan yesterday criticizes the Cabinet's multi-billion dollar employment-boosting draft bills, saying that the proposed draft bills are just a tool of the DPP government to get votes.

PHOTO: CHUN YU-PING, TAIPEI TIMES

Warming up for the 2004 presidential election, the KMT yesterday held a seminar to announce its plan to help the nation tackle its difficulties.

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said that he hopes the ruling administration will take the KMT seminar's policy proposals into account.

"The nation is faced with more crises than ever before with its chaotic politics, sluggish economy and rising unemployment," Lien said at the seminar. "This seminar is being held out of the good-will of the KMT, which has learned from its past successes and failures and can provide substantial advice to the government."

While Lien said the seminar was held in order to gather proposals to better Taiwan's development this year, yesterday's seminar, however, was widely regarded as a warm-up for Lien's run in the 2004 presidential election.

Lien has also scheduled a press conference on Jan. 24.

KMT Spokesman Justine Chou (周守訓) said that the press conference with domestic and foreign media will be held for the purpose of reviewing Taiwan's prospects. It is, however, widely suspected that Lien will then take the opportunity to formally announce his bid for the 2004 presidential election.

Yesterday's one-day seminar, titled "Salvage Taiwan through Reforms," was organized by the KMT's Policy Coordination Committee and the KMT-sponsored think tank National Policy Foundation.

Attended by KMT party leaders, KMT legislators and scholars, former New Party Legislator Lai Shyh-bao(賴士葆), independent Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜) and political critic Nan Fang Shuo (南方朔), the seminar focused on political, economic and social reforms.

The seminar's participants suggested that the party root out politicians with connections to organized crime or party members with a history of corruption.

Seminar participants said that direct transportation links with China is the key area to revitalize Taiwan's economic development.

"The majority of the people in Taiwan feel that direct transportation links with China is a necessary step," Lien said. "In a bid to attract foreign businesses to Taiwan and revitalize Taiwan's economy, the DPP administration should take advantage of its geological location and work to push for direct transportation links immediately"

Proposals to ensure the independence of the judiciary, improve financial management, develop the economy and reform the education system were also presented at the seminar.

Saying that the government's plan to increase fees for health insurance is a violation of human rights as it would add to the financial burden of the citizenry in the midst of Taiwan's sluggish economy and thus prevent the poor from seeking health care, seminar participants proposed that the government set aside part of its budget to help local governments to pay their debt to the national health insurance system.

Lien, who is also chairman of the National Policy Foundation, said the party will seriously consider all the proposals discussed at the seminar and will submit effective proposals to the legislature.

The party broke divided the proposals into various groups and appointed a number of KMT legislators and party leaders to head groups to evaluate the issues and to draw up feasible timelines of when the proposals could be implemented.

Before the seminar concluded, KMT Legislator Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) restated that the opposition parties should form a "shadow government," in imitation of the British-style "shadow Cabinet," in a bid to scrutinize the executive branch and to enhance the opposition parties' ability to govern once there is a change of power.

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