Fri, Mar 07, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Lawmakers pass MOTC resolution

ACCOUNTABLE A DPP lawmaker said that the government had the right to oversee operations of firms owned by the MOTC, which are taxpayer-funded

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers serving on the legislature's Transportation Committee yesterday passed a resolution requiring all companies owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to amend their organization rules within two months.

Specifically, the amendment requires MOTC officials to serve as board members of these organizations and take at least half of the seats. In addition, board chairmanships must be held by a minister.

The resolution was proposed by Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Five other lawmakers, including Chen Ken-te (陳根德) and Lin Ming-chen (林明溱) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) of the DPP, seconded her proposal.

At yesterday's meeting, the ministry was also expected to brief lawmakers about the companies and private corporations that the ministry owns directly or indirectly.

These include Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信), Taoyuan International Airport Service Co (桃園航勤), Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運) and the China Aviation Development Foundation (航發會).

grand hotel

However, most lawmakers were interested in hearing the briefing on the Duen Mou Foundation (敦睦聯誼會), the owner of Taipei's Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店).

The MOTC oversees the operation of the Duen Mou Foundation.

The proposal came after foundation chairwoman Christine Tsung (宗才怡) and several other chief executives of companies failed to turn up to yesterday's meeting.

Yeh said the government had the right to oversee the operations of these companies because they are funded by taxpayer money.

"These executives are reluctant to show up [at the legislative meeting] because government representatives fail to control half of the seats on the board," she said.

In response, minister Tsai Duei (蔡堆) warned that it might be difficult to carry out such a policy because the percentage of shares owned by the MOTC in each organization varies.

"Unless the ministry controls more than 50 percent of shares in any corporation, it has no right to demand half of the seats," he said.

financial crisis

In related news, the ministry was also grilled yesterday about Far Eastern Air Transport's (FAT, 遠東航空) financial crisis.

Civil Aeronautics Administration director-general Billy Chang (張國政) said that the company had received US$1.5 million on Wednesday to help pay employee salaries.

Chang also said that FAT's employees had each received payments equivalent to 80 percent of their base salaries and subsidies.

Chang confirmed yesterday evening that Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (金門酒廠實業) chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) and former FAT president Lee Yun-ling (李雲寧) had met with him to discuss the airline's future.

Meanwhile, the Kinmen County Council is scheduled to review the possibility of investing in FAT next Wednesday, the Central News Agency reported yesterday.

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