Sat, Jul 30, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh fails to sway opposition legislators

FLOOD-CONTROL PLAN The PFP caucus walked out of the premier's briefing in protest, while the KMT complained the government's project was poorly designed

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Frank Hsieh, left, shakes hands yesterday with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng at the Legislative Yuan after a briefing about the proposed NT$80 billion flood-control program.

PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Despite Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) unprecedented visit to the legislature during the summer recess, a second-round of cross-party negotiations on holding a special legislative session failed to bear fruit yesterday.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) ruled that an informal plenary talk will be held next Friday to discuss the issue again as well as what bills would be screened during the session.

Wang also suggested that the next legislative session start on Sept. 13, about two weeks earlier than usual.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus wanted the plenary talk to be held either Monday or Tuesday, but Wang said next Friday would be more appropriate because government agencies need more time to include lawmakers' opinions into the proposed eight-year, NT$80 billion flood-fighting program.

Opposition caucuses also need time to map out their own version of the flood-prevention bill, Wang said.

"The next few days will be critical," Wang said. "I'm afraid the DPP caucus will be the biggest loser if they still refuse to budge."

The DPP caucus wants to get six priority bills passed during the special session. It plans to put its proposal to a vote at the plenary talk if necessary.

Opposition caucuses, however, may use their numerical advantage to veto the DPP's proposition.

Before yesterday's meeting, Hsieh led a team of government officials to brief lawmakers about the flood-fighting proposal.

Hsieh said government flood-fighting efforts during the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration had failed to resolve the problem and that the proposed project was approved by the Executive Yuan in May, not at the last minute.

Although opposition caucuses said they agree the flooding problem needs desperately to be addressed, they don't like the government's proposal.

The People First Party (PFP) caucus walked out of the meeting as Hsieh was answering legislators' questions, claiming that lawmakers were not given enough time to voice their opinions.

One representative from each caucus was given three minutes to discuss the proposal.

The PFP caucus also refused to dispatch any representative to attend the inter-party talk which followed Hsieh's briefing.

Calling the government's flood-control plan as "crudely prepared," PFP Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said that his caucus does not see the need for a special session and that yesterday's briefing was only symbolic.

"How do they expect us to believe that the government is well prepared to do the job when there is no feasibility assessment nor a clear goal set in its report," he said.

PFP Legislator Li Yong-ping (李永萍) said the entire project was a political ploy to court southern voters for the year-end city mayor and county commissioner elections.

KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that his caucus agrees that the flooding problem needs to be taken care of, but it is duty bound to supervise how the government spends money.

Lai also criticized the government's plan as "roughly sketched."

"The NT$80 billion bill contains only seven articles and 1,600 words -- or NT$50 million per word," Lai said.

"I'm very curious to know as to why the premier's predecessors failed to solve the flooding problem despite spending more than NT$20 billion a year over the past five years, but Premier Hsieh thinks he can do it with an investment of NT$10 billion a year for the next eight years," he said.

This story has been viewed 3321 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top