Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Legislative chaos spreads to Taipei council

PUSH AND SHOVE Pan-green councilors caused a disruption ahead of a report by Ma Ying-jeou, which sparked clashes with KMT councilors

BY MO YAN-CHIH  /  STAFF REPORTER

While attempting to throw an apple at the Bureau of Civil Affairs' Ho Hung-jung, DPP Taipei City Councilor Lo Tsung-sheng, center, is held by KMT Taipei City Councilor Chen Chia-ming, left, at the Taipei City Council.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Amid vociferous protests and shoving matches, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was forced yesterday to delay his municipal report to Taipei City Council for two hours as pan-green city councilors' critical speeches provoked conflict between the two camps.

Promising not to boycott Ma in the same fashion that pan-blue lawmakers have used in the legislature, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors used long speeches and protests to criticize Ma for providing an "unprofessional and incomplete municipal report" and for ignoring his responsibilities as mayor since being elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman.

"The municipal report only gave good news and failed to include problematic issues such as the lawsuit Taipei MRT lost to Matra, and delays to many construction projects," the DPP's caucus leader Councilor Chen Cheng-teh (陳正德) said.

Upset by the pan-green camp's obstructions, KMT Councilor Yang Shih-chiu (楊實秋) held up placards and jumped on his table to "provoke the DPP councilors." He later interrupted DPP Councilor Lan Shih-tsung's (藍世聰) speech as the two camps held a shoving match.

Council Speaker Wu Bi-chu (吳碧珠) had to order two breaks before Ma finally got to stand at the podium and deliver his report.

Prior to reporting on "how to build Taipei into a healthy city," Ma responded to councilors' questions, in which DPP and KMT councilors were split on whether the issue of Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) should be of concern to the city government.

"Opening up access to the section between Pinglin (坪林) and Shiding (石碇) on the Taipei-Ilan highway will influence the water quality of Feitsui Reservoir," Ma said. "This concerns the rights and interests of the 8 million people in Taipei city and county. Of course it is the responsibility of the city government. I don't agree that it is only an issue for the Legislative Yuan."

During the question-and-answer session, an allegation that Bureau of Civil Affairs Ho Hung-jung's (何鴻榮) was having an affair with his secretary became another topic of controversy, as KMT Councilors Lai Su-ru (賴素如) and Wang Hao (王浩) both mentioned the issue.

According to reports in the Chinese-language media, Ho was absent from work early this month when Typhoon Khanun hit the island as he was on vacation with his secretary in Bali.

Ma defended Ho yesterday, saying that Ho had asked for leave. But he promised to continue an investigation into whether Ho needs to take any responsibility regarding the matter.

Ho yesterday denied the accusation and said that he did ask for leave by having his staff apply for him. He also denied having an affair with his secretary.

After the discussions ended, the council agreed that Ma and his team should prepare special reports on four issues between now and next month, including the donation of part of the Institute on Policy Research and Development's land to Yong-jian Elementary School, the reform of the city hospital system and delays in construction projects.

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