Wed, Nov 28, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Lawmaker accused of pressuring MND

HALTED PRODUCTION Three DPP lawmakers said that KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung interfered with the production of weapons by a Taichung firm, costing the area billions

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday accused Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) of interfering with the military's production of a 40mm grenade launching armored personnel carrier.

"I hereby urge the Ministry of National Defense [MND] not to yield to this ridiculous request to temporarily stop the production of the vehicles," Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) said.

Ho, accompanied by Legislator Hsieh Ming-yuan (謝明源) and former DPP legislator Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲), made the remarks during a press conference at the legislature yesterday morning.

Ho, Hsieh and Tsai Ming-hsien are the DPP's legislative candidates for Taichung City. Tsai Chin-lung represents Taichung County.

Ho said that the state-funded Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC) won the bid to manufacture the vehicles. SYM Taiwan, which lost the bid, asked Tsai Chin-lung to interfere with the deal and ask the ministry to temporarily suspend production of the vehicles, Ho said.

As AIDC is based in Taichung, it expects to make a net profit of more than NT$80 billion (US$2.5 billion) if the contract with the ministry is fulfilled, he said.

"Tsai [Chin-lung], who is also a lawmaker for Taichung, is supposed to defend the interests of Taichung natives, but he is doing the opposite," Ho said.

AIDC's general manager Lo Cheng-fang (羅正方) said the company had won the bid fair and square. The ministry should resume the contract or the delay will infringe on the rights of the firm's employees.

"The ministry is not supposed to yield to any sort of political pressure," Hsieh said.

In response to the lawmaker's complaint, the MND said that there may have been a misunderstanding.

"The reason we have temporarily halted the manufacture of the vehicles is because of a dispute between the bidders. It has nothing to do with pressure from lawmakers," Major General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) said.

Yu explained that there were three bidders for the contract. AIDC won the bid on Oct. 9 but SYM Taiwan filed appeals over the decision on Oct. 31 and Nov. 12. By law, the ministry must temporarily stop the entire process before SYM Taiwan's appeals are heard.

Meanwhile, Tsai Chin-lung yesterday afternoon filed a defamation lawsuit against Ho and the other lawmakers.

When approached for comment, he said the accusations were "false." He said he only sent a document to the ministry urging it to follow related bidding regulations when handling the bids for the armored vehicle.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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