Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen unveils plan for stolen assets

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) pledged yesterday he would use the stolen assets reclaimed from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to finance education and not to buy weapons or finance foreign aid packages.

Chen told the DPP's Central Executive Committee meeting yesterday that the DPP administration would use the money to sponsor five educational programs -- free kindergarten education, free textbooks for elementary and junior high school students, free lunches for elementary and junior high school students, free tuition for junior high school and junior vocational school students and interest-free loans to college students and young business entrepreneurs.

Chen said the government would create a NT$10 billion (US$313 million) fund and use the accrued interest to sponsor the interest-free loan program.

The government would also earmark government budgets and use the recovered assets to finance the other four programs, which estimates say would come at a cost of NT$44.2 billion annually.

The Executive Yuan estimates the value of the KMT stolen assets at more than NT$200 billion, Chen said.

Scheduled to be held in conjunction with the legislative election on Jan. 12, the referendum on recovering KMT stolen assets is of historic importance because it will be the nation's second national referendum after the "peace referendum" in 2004, Chen said.

Chen said the DPP had resorted to a referendum because of the opposition-controlled legislature's boycott of a draft bill aiming to force the KMT to return its stolen assets to state coffers.

"We will never allow the KMT to use its stolen assets to finance its legislative and presidential election campaigns," he said.

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