Thu, Jan 12, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Ma to use `wisdom' in asset sales

DISPOSITION The KMT chairman made the comments as employees of a recently sold KMT firm protested that the party had given them a raw deal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Central Motion Picture Corp Union protest outside KMT headquarters yesterday, demanding proper severance pay following the sale of the party's shares in the company. Employees have been protesting since the KMT sold the company to the China Times Group late last month.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FONG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will deal with the sale of its headquarters and other party assets using wisdom, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

Ma made the remarks in response to Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) statement yesterday morning that it would be inappropriate for the KMT to sell its headquarters to financial institutions as it is located in the administrative division of the capital.

"The KMT's headquarters should be a place that represents ethnic integration, considering that it is located in the capital's administrative district," Hsieh said yesterday morning during a meeting at the Executive Yuan.

The KMT's headquarters, located at the intersection of Renai Road and Zhongshan S. Road and valued at about NT$2 billion (US$62.4 million), is one of the party assets Ma has been trying to get rid of since he was elected chairman in August.

While the party's members are divided on whether what they called the "spiritual fort" of the KMT should be sold, Ma has pledged to move the party's headquarters to a smaller building on Bade Road after the Lunar New Year.

Ma yesterday thanked Hsieh for his concern regarding the property, but said his party would make the final decision.

"What Premier Hsieh said is reasonable, but the KMT has the wisdom to deal with party asset sales," he said yesterday morning after presiding over a municipal meeting as Taipei mayor.

KMT Deputy Secretary-General Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) yesterday said the party has set no timeframe for the sale of the headquarters, and will inform the public if any deal is reached.

"Does Hsieh mean that the KMT can sell its headquarters to anyone but a financial institution? We are still discussing the plan, and although there are interested buyers, we haven't made any decisions yet," he said.

While Ma expressed confidence in his party's ability to solve the party asset issue, workers from the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC) expressed the opposite sentiment yesterday, airing their grievances again outside the KMT's headquarters during a Central Standing Committee meeting.

CMPC's employees have been protesting since the KMT sold the company and two other media outlets to the China Times Group for NT$4 billion late last month. The employees say the party failed to take care of them by offering a good pension package.

Chou Chia-chun (周佳君), general-secretary of the CMPC union, said that while the party offered workers of China Television Co (中視) and the Broadcasting Corporation of China (中廣) preferential retirement packages or guaranteed them job opportunities, CMPC's employees are being forced to retire without any benefits.

"Why can't our workers enjoy the same benefits? The CMPC has done so much for the country's movie industry, and we only ask for the same treatment as others," she said yesterday in front of the KMT's headquarters.

Chanting "Be fair Chairman Ma" and "CMPC is innocent," protesters tried to push their way into the building, but were stopped by the police. They then held a sit-in in front of the building.

The KMT said that it will communicate with the union today, while the union pledged to continue its protests should negotiations fail.

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