Wed, Mar 21, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Wu's transfer to US upsets pan-blues

BLOCKED Four amendments needed to make the Taiwan Post's name change official are stalled in the legislature, which froze the postal company's budget on Monday

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The transfer of Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) from his post as chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to work as the country's de facto ambassador to the US has affected the consideration of the council's budget for last year, half of which has been frozen for more than a year.

"We demand an explanation for the unexpected appointment and will not consider unfreezing the budget before a new MAC chairman is assigned," People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) said in the legislature's Procedure Committee yesterday.

Chang motioned to block from the legislative agenda a request from the council to unfreeze its budget.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supported the block.

Pan-blue legislators said the MAC was too slow in working towards opening cross-strait relations further. In January of last year, pan-blue lawmakers cut one-fifth of the council's proposed budget for that year and froze half of its approved budget.

The PFP said at last Tuesday's Procedure Committee meeting that the party would consider lifting its opposition, but yesterday it decided to continue its boycott.

Meanwhile, the four amendments proposed by the government following the name change of state-owned Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政) to Taiwan Post (台灣郵政) were again blocked by the pan-blue legislators.

The company's board of directors passed a proposal last month to change its name to the Taiwan Post.

The change, however, requires four amendments to the regulations governing postal administration and the Chunghwa Post itself.

The government has launched a campaign to rename state-owned enterprises to speed up "desinicization," but it has met with opposition from the Legislative Yuan, where the pan-blue camp has the majority.

In addition to the four stalled amendments, this year's budget for the Taiwan Post was frozen during a preliminary review in the legislature on Monday.

Meanwhile, the pan-blue camp also blocked a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-introduced amendment that would block people convicted of corruption from running for president.

KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) said that the amendment was clearly targeted at former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who was indicted on corruption charges last month for allegedly embezzling from his special allowance fund during the eight years he served as Taipei mayor.

"It's an amendment good for the country and not aimed at Ma alone. Is there anything bad in passing an amendment to be sure of the integrity of whoever assumes the presidency?" DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) said in response.

Tsai told KMT lawmakers that Ma "is not as clean as you think."

Tsai accused Ma of accepting US$2 million in the late 1990s from fugitive Wang Chin She-ying (王金世英), based on an article published in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 15. The article did not provide evidence for its claims.

Wang Chin She-ying and her husband, Wang You-theng (王又曾), chairman of Rebar Group, fled overseas after having allegedly embezzled huge assets.

Prosecutors have sought a 30 year prison sentence and an unprecedented fine of NT$1.71 billion (US$52.13 million) for Wang You-theng for the embezzlement.

also see story:

Editorial: Mr Wu goes to Washington

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