The DPP legislative caucus yesterday said it wanted the special NT$50 billion budget designed to combat the effects of the SARS outbreak to be passed as early as May 23.
"The party hopes that a quick passage will help the prevention and control measures benefit from financial aid as soon as possible," said Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), the DPP caucus convener.
The extra NT$50 billion was part of the special regulation approved by the Legislative Yuan on May 2.
Ker said that, given the public apprehension over a worsening of the situation, the DPP will propose the speeding up of Premier Yu Shyi-kun's budget briefing at the legislature and finalize a review for the plan at an earlier date.
The briefing will be brought forward as early as May 16, Ker said.
"The passage should be expected at the legislative assembly on May 23, one week earlier than the scheduled agenda," he said.
According to the convener, the budget plan should be discussed at Friday's assembly when the Procedure Committee initiates the plan's legislative procedure tomorrow.
Noting that the speed-up would greatly benefit anti-SARS measures, Ker said that "opposition parties should echo the proposal based upon the legislative consensus that containing the outbreak is the first priority."
The KMT and PFP said they would endorse the proposal.
"The KMT will support all efforts to contain the epidemic since nothing is more important than fighting SARS," Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), said the KMT legislative caucus whip.
Tseng said that the Procedure Committee will lay out the budget plan tomorrow as long as the Executive Yuan can finalize the draft and send it to the legislature this afternoon.
"The party will help the review to be completed at top speed, but we will still carry out the opposition's duty to make sure the money is not used in vain," he said.
Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和), the PFP caucus convener, said: "The PFP will cooperate with every effort to restrain the epidemic," he said. "To fulfill our legislative responsibility, we will cautiously review the budget plan while putting forward the passage quickly."