Wed, Jul 21, 2010 - Page 3 News List

MOI rules out halt to land seizures before legal revisions made

THE PUBLIC’S INTERESTA top ministry official said critics would be listened to, but the expropriations were necessary for public construction projects

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) yesterday dismissed the possibility of the government suspending all planned land seizures before relevant laws are amended.

Vice Minister of the Interior Lin Tsyr-ling (林慈玲) told reporters at the Executive Yuan after Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) met with a number of academics and farmers’ representatives in the morning, that the academics had suggested the government halt all farmland acquisition projects and drop the plan to take over farmland in Dapu Borough (大埔), Jhunan Township (竹南), Miaoli County, before the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例) is amended.

“It is impossible for the government to stop all land expropriation,” Lin said, adding that most of the government’s farmland acquisition projects were in the public’s interests and for public construction work.

“Only a few are projects to develop specific areas,” she said, adding that Wu had instructed government agencies to fully respect the voices of those who oppose the projects.

Wu said that national interest, natural resources and food security should all be taken into consideration in any development project, Lin said.

Wu invited academics and farmers to the Executive Yuan on Monday night and yesterday to listen to their views on farmland policy and to mediate between Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) and farmers over the Dapu expropriation.

The Miaoli County Government sent in excavators — with police escorts — to dig up rice paddies in Dapu last month.

Photographs and video clips of the demolitions in Dapu spread quickly on the Internet and in the media, shocking the public and finally placing a spotlight on the farmers’ years of campaigning against land expropriation.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) told reporters later yesterday she was concerned about the impact of the controversy on the party’s outlook in the November special municipality elections.

She said about 8 million Netizens had joined an online campaign to support the farmers.

Lo said the Miaoli commissioner had made a “huge” mistake in failing to consider farmers’ interests.

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