Tue, Sep 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Assets referendum proposal submitted

KMT'S STOLEN ASSETS A Democratic Progressive Party-led alliance submitted the proposal, accompanied by 100,000 signatures, to the Executive Yuan yesterday

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

An alliance led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday submitted to the Executive Yuan a proposal for a national referendum on recovering the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) stolen assets.

Around 20 members of the alliance, including DPP Chairman Yu Shyi-kun, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) and TSU Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙), as well as members of several civic groups, presented the proposal after collecting signatures from more than 100,000 people, far more than the required number of around 80,000 signatures.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), ministers without portfolio Hsu Chih-hsiung (許志雄) and Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀), and Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang (李逸洋) accepted the proposal.

The premier said he was "deeply moved" by the proposal, saying that the public had fought hard for a long time to overcome the injustice of the KMT.

"The KMT's assets are not an internal matter, because the assets belong to the people," he continued, claiming that the assets were illegally or improperly amassed by the party during its 55-year rule of Taiwan until 2000.

The Control Yuan has investigated the KMT's assets and has found that the party should return far more to the national coffers than it has pledged to, Su said, adding that KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has also promised to return some of the assets.

The premier said that more than 100,000 people have signed their names to the proposal, showing that many feel that the assets belong to the nation and should be returned.

Meanwhile, Ma said yesterday that the KMT would no longer operate any businesses after it had dealt with the matter of its assets.

Ma added that the KMT would not deal with assets deemed controversial by other parties until a court had ruled on their legitimacy.

Ma made the remarks at a breakfast meeting with KMT councilors from Changhua County, as well as members of local farmers' and fishermen's associations.

Ma also said that from now on, the party would not accept contributions for its election campaigns, but would instead raise funds through its supporters.

Su said a referendum screening commission would be formed in the Legislative Yuan in proportion to the number of seats held by each political party. He said while his administration did not agree with this system of forming the committee, it had to reluctantly agree to it to facilitate the proceedings of the national referendum, as the KMT had also sped up the selling of its assets.

Noting that the DPP would commence a second-stage signature drive with the goal of collecting 800,000 signatures by the end of this year and holding the referendum next year, Su expressed the hope that everyone would work toward the goal of a national referendum.

The KMT, once described as the richest political party in the world, claimed in a report last month that its assets now total only NT$27.7 billion (US$842.9 million).

The KMT also claimed in the report that it lost NT$42.7 billion because of bad investments made during the chairmanship of former president and KMT chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

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