Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

DPP says KMT efforts on flood bill `lackluster'

NO MORE EXCUSES The DPP caucus called on the KMT to back a special review of the government's proposed NT$80 billion flood-control project

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday refused to apologize for what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus said was the government's "lackluster" flood-fighting efforts over the past years, and called on opposition parties to support a special legislative session to review the eight-year, NT$80 billion (US$2.51 billion) flood-control bill.

"I hope opposition parties stop their senseless accusations and focus on solving the problem," said DPP caucus whip Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻). "We hope KMT chairman-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) realizes the public's desire for national stability, and instructs the KMT caucus to agree to an extraordinary session to screen priority bills."

Chen made the remark yesterday morning in response to three preconditions set by KMT whip Chen Chieh (陳杰) for holding a special legislative session.

Chen Chieh said that his caucus would not consider agreeing to hold a special session unless the government offers a public apology for its unfruitful flood-control efforts over the past five years.

Nor will his caucus consider endorsing the session if the flood-control package cannot guarantee success in solving the nation's long-standing flooding problems.

Except for the flood-fighting bill, Chen Chieh said that his caucus did not want to discuss any "unrelated" bills during the special session, if there were any.

The DPP legislative caucus has filed a request to hold an extra session during its current summer recess to screen six critical bills. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has arranged a cross-party meeting to discuss the proposition next Thursday.

Jumping to the defense of its ally, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip David Huang (黃適卓) said that it did not make any sense for the KMT to ask for an apology from the DPP.

"The flooding problem is a long-standing one caused over the years," he said. "If the DPP government is responsible for it, the previous KMT administration cannot shirk any responsibility either."

Huang said the KMT caucus should stop looking for excuses to reject the special session. He also said the Executive Yuan should provide a detailed plan to help the legislature better understand the proposed flood project.

Huang also supported the DPP's proposal to tackle the arms-procurement package and confirmation of Control Yuan nominations during the session.

People First Party (PFP) caucus whip Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said that his caucus strongly opposed the DPP's proposition, because it was "not necessary."

"Wang has already said that the government has sufficient funds at its disposal to deal with the flooding problem, so I don't think it is necessary to hold a special legislative session to take care of the problem," he said.

He also questioned if Chen Chieh, a Ma supporter, was trying to embarrass Wang by agreeing to consider the possibility.

"Is he out of his mind or deliberately giving Wang a hard time?" Hsu asked.

As media attention focuses on whether the DPP will again propose a bill to require the KMT to return its stolen assets during the next legislative session, PFP policy research center director Chang Hsien-s (張顯耀) said that his party's stance on the issue remained unchanged, but that now was not the time for them to talk about it because it is such a sensitive issue.

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