Mon, May 12, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Parties say caution necessary before emergency decree

CNA , TAIPEI

All of the major political parties have suggested that the government be prudent regarding the issuance of an emergency decree in the wake of the SARS outbreak.

Although Premier Yu Shyi-kun announced Saturday that there is no need to issue an emergency decree since the existing epidemic prevention and control law as well as the special provision for SARS prevention and control are sufficient for managing the situation, there have been discussions in political circles regarding the issuance of such a decree to consolidate all resources and efforts in fighting the spreading disease.

After the sealing of Taipei Hoping Municipal Hospital and Jen Chi Hospital in Wanhua District, the city government decided last Friday to seal off the nearby Huachang apartment compound after three suspected SARS cases were reported.

As the spread of SARS has caused increasing concerns and has led people to question the law-enforcement and coordination capabilities of the authorities, some legislators have proposed that an emergency decree be issued to allow the government greater flexibility and mobilization in combating the disease.

DPP's caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday that the party would honor the President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) decision regarding the issuance of an emergency decree if the situation worsens. At the moment, the DPP does not see the necessity for such a statute, he added.

The KMT has also expressed that it would support a decision by Chen if he were to issue an emergency decree, deferring to the president's more comprehensive knowledge about the situation.

The PFP and the TSU said that they believe that at the moment, there is no need to issue an emergency decree and that the government should avoid overreacting and thus causing panic.

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