Tue, Jan 03, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Prospects good for TV bill

EXCELLENT ODDS Even though the TSU opposes a bill on the release of government stakes in TV stations, other parties are likely to write it into law

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Passage of a bill regulating the release of government holdings in terrestrial TV stations appears likely today, despite opposition from the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislative caucus.

The bill has been listed at the top of today's legislative agenda. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday promised to call another round of cross-party negotiations this morning, and says he hopes to avoid a showdown.

"I hope that all parties can make some concessions and agree not to enshrine in the law a proportional makeup for the review committee," Wang said. "As soon as there is a consensus, the bill will proceed to the second and third readings."

Upset by the dispute over the Liming Foundation (黎明基金會), TSU caucus whip Mark Ho (何敏豪) yesterday said his caucus would like to see more cross-party negotiations in order to iron out differences over the bill, rather than rushing it to today's legislative sitting for second and third readings.

The military-affiliated foundation owns about 25 percent of Chinese Television System (CTS). While the foundation has insisted that it is a private company and agreed to release 25 percent of its CTS holdings, the TSU said that it would like to see the foundation dissolved because its assets belong to the government. The party cited an investigation report on the matter released by the Control Yuan in 1999.

Ho said that he stormed out of cross-party talks called by Wang yesterday to express his anger over the pan-blue camp's rejection of his request to attach a rider to the bill asking the Ministry of National Defense to dissolve the Liming Foundation.

Party negotiators had originally agreed to Ho's request, but KMT caucus whip Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) proposed that more investigations should be conducted first to confirm the findings of the Control Yuan probe.

The TSU and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) representatives then refused to sign an accord.

Ho also voiced his caucus' opposition to the establishment of a committee to review the disposition of public holdings in terrestrial TV stations in proportion to the seats each party has in the legislature.

DPP Legislator Kuan Pi-ling (管碧玲) said the odds of passing the bill today are good.

Kuan said that party negotiators also agreed to attach another amendment to the bill, requesting that CTS -- which would become a public corporation under the bill -- relocate to southern Taiwan five years after the law takes effect.

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