Thu, Jul 31, 2008 - Page 3 News List

DPP pans Taitung County head over trips made abroad

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday accused Taitung County Commissioner Kuang Li-chen (鄺麗貞) of wasting public funds on several trips abroad during her term.

Kuang, currently in Italy, has come under fire for not cutting her trip short as Typhoon Fung-wong approached Taiwan to deal with potential damage caused by the storm.

DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) told a press conference yesterday that Kuang was leading 10 Taitung County township heads on the 13-day visit to Italy at a cost of NT$1.5 million (US$50,000) in public funds.

Kuang has made eight overseas trips in her two years and three months in office for a total cost of more than NT$10 million, Gao said.

“Kuang is wasting taxpayer money,” Gao said. “As a former flight attendant, Kuang would be better off going back to her [flight attendant] job because she really enjoys flying.”

DPP caucus whip Chang Hwa-kuan (張花冠) said that because the DPP does not control the Taitung County commissionership, people like Kuang, of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), get away with whatever they want.

“Voters should use their votes to tell Kuang in the next commissioner election whether is it alright to ignore local government work and travel abroad often,” Chang said.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) suggested amending the Disaster Prevention and Response Act (災害防救法) to punish local government heads who do not take charge of rescue work following natural disasters and measures to combat damage from disasters.

At a separate setting yesterday, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said he would ask all KMT local government heads to prioritize disaster relief efforts.

“As a local government head, it is important to address residents’ needs. All residents want to see a government head stay in their city or county when a storm hits the area,” Wu said.

Wu said that as a former Taoyuan County commissioner, he understood that local government heads visited foreign countries to learn about municipal developments there.

However, they should lead disaster prevention and relief efforts, he said.

Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih

Also See: EDITORIAL: Kuang Li-chen’s flights of fancy

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