Fri, Sep 16, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blues' demand for apology rejected

BY JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday called opposition lawmakers' demand that Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) apologize for problems with the Kaohsiung MRT project before they would allow him to present his briefing to the legislature "a meaningless gesture."

"If lawmakers want to question the premier over any issues, they will be more than welcome to question him at any time during the official legislative meetings. Their request for an apology does not really mean anything," Cho said.

Pan-blue lawmakers have accused Hsieh of making wrong decisions about Kaohsiung's MRT system when he was the city's mayor.

Hsieh's predecessor in that post, Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), now a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker, presented documents at a KMT meeting on Wednesday to bolster his claim that it was Hsieh who had decided to use the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model to construct the MRT system, not himself.

The BOT model has come under fire after Thai laborers working for the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp rioted over poor working and living conditions.

"Even if the premier does apologize, the apology will be the result of pressure from the [legislative] majority and would not really help clarify responsibilities," Cho said.

He urged lawmakers to pursue their complaints through official channels, such as questioning Hsieh during meetings or debates, instead of boycotting the premier's briefing and wasting everybody's time and money.

"The premier said he finished half a book while he was waiting [to give his briefing] on Tuesday. If opposition lawmakers want another repeat, he will continue to use his time well and serve the people by reviewing more official documents," Cho said.

"He may have a chance to finish the rest of that book, too," Cho said.

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