Fri, Jul 17, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan may ‘consult’ Ma

NEIHU LINE Because of malfunctions on the new MRT line, a member of the top watchdog said he may ask the former Taipei mayor about his role when in power

By Flora Wang and Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A Control Yuan member said yesterday he might “consult” President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) over the much criticized MRT Neihu Line.

“It is necessary for the Control Yuan to understand [the construction and operation of the Neihu Line] and to ‘consult’ him [Ma] on what happened during his tenure [as Taipei mayor],” said Control Yuan member Ger Yeong-kuang (葛永光), who is in charge of an investigation into the malfunctions of the line.

Ger said he would not rule out making an appointment with the president, but he said the move should not be interpreted as “summoning the president for questioning” because Control Yuan members do not have the constitutional authority to probe incumbent presidents.

The Constitution gives the Control Yuan the power to investigate the Executive Yuan and its subordinate organizations.

Another Control Yuan member, Chen Yung-hsiang (陳永祥), said Control Yuan members might question Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) or higher-ranking officials as its investigation proceeds.

Chen said the members would focus on problems with the line and how to ensure smooth operation of the system.

Ger, Chen and Control Yuan member Chao Jung-yao (趙榮耀) launched an investigation into the Neihu Line after taking an inspection trip of the line on Wednesday.

The Taipei City Government has come under fire because of a number of malfunctions since the Neihu Line commenced operations on July 4.

Trains on the Neihu and Muzha lines came to a stop last Friday after a power outage, forcing about 700 passengers to walk along the elevated rail lines to station platforms because their trains had stopped between stations.

Chen yesterday said he felt that the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp had not spent enough time testing integration of the two lines’ systems, adding that the Neihu Line might have begun operation “a little bit earlier” than it should have.

Taipei City Secretariat Deputy Director Tan Gwa-guang (譚國光) said yesterday that Hau and the municipal administration would cooperate with the investigation, and defended the decision-making process before the line was opened.

The city government and the Neihu Line’s builder, Canada-based Bombardier, have been working to fix the malfunctions and frequent false alarms since the line started operation on July 4, he said.

At a separate setting yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said there were too many “coincidences” that connect the decisions made by Ma during his tenure as Taipei mayor to the current state of the Neihu Line.

For example, Cheng said, because Ma did not consider the potential for population growth in Neihu, he did not increase the capacity of the line from medium to high. Also, Ma changed the plan from building an underground metro line to an elevated one. Ma’s last minute-decisions created many construction and management problems during the process, Cheng said.

The DPP demanded that Ma give an explanation as to why he switched the contractors from French company Matra to Bombardier Inc, Cheng said.

“All these changes added extra expenses to the original budget and disturbed the original schedule,” Cheng said. “The Control Yuan must get to the bottom of this. If the investigation results call for an impeachment, then it should do just that.”


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