Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MORAKOT: THE AFTERMATH: Ex-DPP lawmaker seeks probe of Ma, Liu and Hsia

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Tsai Chi-fang (蔡啟芳) went to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday to accuse President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and others of malfeasance in handling the flooding caused by Typhoon Morakot.

Tsai pressed the bell in front of the prosecutor’s office to hand in a petition that asks for an immediate investigation into whether Ma, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Hsia (夏立言) neglected to perform their official duties, causing large numbers of people to become victims of the typhoon.

Tsai accused the three of causing irreparable damage to the people of southern Taiwan. All three have been widely criticized over their handling of the disaster.

Hsia was the first official to tender a resignation over the government’s much criticized relief effort when he claimed responsibility for Ministry of Foreign Affairs cable dated Aug. 11 that instructed overseas representative offices to reject offers of foreign aid except for cash.

“Immediate rescue efforts could have minimized the death toll caused by typhoon Morakot,” said Tsai, adding that the ministry’s rejection of foreign aid during such critical hours when the people of Taiwan needed help from overseas was a clear sign that the government did not put the interests of its people first.

Tsai urged prosecutors to act quickly because officials may attempt to destroy evidence such as signed documents.

In related news, a dispute over driftwood blocking fishing ports appears at an impass.

After inspecting Jiangjyun Port in Tainan County, Forestry Bureau officials said yesterday that most of thewood along the coast did not come from state-owned forests. They told Jiangjyun fishermen that question of who should clear the driftwood will be referred to the central government.

Fishermen said they have incurred huge losses as the woodpiles have damaging their boats.

“We are suffering from dual losses, with our equipment damaged and our fishing operations at a complete halt,” they said.

Many fishing ports and coastal estuaries have been clogged with thousands of tonnes of driftwood since Morakot struck.

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