President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen made the announcement after meeting with representatives from opposition parties at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.
The participants also agreed that the government needs more time before making a final decision on issuing a state of emergency in the country, which has been severely disrupted by the outbreak of the flu-like disease.
"The participants shared the view that the president should be given full jurisdiction to make a decision on the announcement and they also believe that government agencies will conduct thorough reviews for the evaluation," Secretary General to the Presidential Office Chiou Yi-jen (邱義仁) told a news conference after the meeting.
The meeting was scheduled by the president in a bid to gather together all top opposition leaders -- including KMT Chairman Lien Chan (
However the two chairmen were absent at the meeting. KMT Vice Chairman Lin Chun-chi (
Chen, concluding his meeting with the representatives, said that the participants also urged the media to play a helping role in the fight against SARS.
The media should conduct more checks on SARS news stories and ensure the information is credible to prevent generating further panic in society, the president said.
All parties called for the public to be well prepared for a long-term confrontation to the spreading epidemic, according to the president.
"In this case, every member of the society has no right to be apathetic to other's misfortune or trouble," Chen told the public.
Other political leaders invited to yesterday's discussion included TSU Chairman Huang Chu-wen (