Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Premier seeks Wang's support

HARD SELL Faced with obstruction by pan-blue legislators, Yu Shyi-kun visited Wang Jin-pyng to urge passage of the Cabinet's spending plan

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun sought support from Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday as he attempted to ease the passage of a special budget for 10 construction projects announced by the Cabinet on Monday.

"I visited [Wang] to ask for his help to accelerate perusal of the NT$500 billion budget by legislators," Yu said yesterday at the legislature.

"Without this investment, there will be no opportunities for business, and the nation's international competitiveness will not be raised," said the premier, as he appealed to the speaker for early passage of the spending plan.

The "New 10 Key Infrastructure Projects" aim to boost investment in research and development, infrastructure, environmental protection and international competitiveness.

Yu had called for legislators' endorsement of the plan on Monday.

He said that legislators from across the political spectrum should "have faith in Taiwan and make an investment in the future."

But the plan met its first setback at the hands of lawmakers only hours after Yu's visit to the legislative speaker, when the opposition-controlled Procedure Committee refused to place the bill on the legislative agenda.

Pan-blue lawmakers insisted that the legislature would not consider the bill until Dec. 9, when Yu will have presented his report to the legislature.

"The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) caucuses are determined not to set a date to examine the plan until hearing the report of the premier," KMT whip Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) said.

Nevertheless, the premier continued to emphasize the importance of the bill's passage during a question and answer session at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

Stressing the significance of the individual projects, the premier argued that the country would have to pay more to implement the plans in future if it did not approve them now.

"The benefits to be had from beginning these construction projects now would be considerable," Yu told lawmakers.

He also described the plan as solid evidence that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government was a responsible one and acting in the long-term interests of the country.

"A responsible government addresses problems with the appropriate responses as they emerge. We have put forward these ideas and we are not daunted by the fact that the plan is costly or may cause controversy in the upcoming presidential election," Yu told DPP Legislator Chen Mao-nan (陳茂男).

He also said that artificial lakes were part of the new plan because the government had taken careful note of the low water supply at the Feitsui and Shihmen reservoirs in northern Taiwan during the drought.

The same shortage happened in the south at the Tsengwen and Wushantou reservoirs, he said.

Yu added that the NT$500 billion plan was put forward to make up for insufficient government investment over the past two years because of restrictions imposed by the Public Debt Law (公債法).

After being challenged by PFP Legislator Lee Tung-hao (李桐豪) that the Cabinet had engaged in illegal budgeting, Yu said that his Cabinet would carry out the budget in compliance with the law.

"It should not be your Cabinet's business to map out this plan since you will merely be a caretaker Cabinet," Lee said.

"Such a plan should be put forward by the next president and the premier appointed by him," the lawmaker told the premier.

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