Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Sinbei mayoral candidates talk housing

QUESTION OF EXPERIENCE?Former vice premier Eric Chu is trumpeting his experience, but rival Tsai Ing-wen hinted at allegations of his misconduct raised by ‘Next Magazine’

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Addressing issues that have recently made headlines, both mayoral candidates for Sinbei City — the soon-to-be-renamed Taipei County — focused on social policies and community housing over the weekend.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) stepped up their campaigning over the past week, with just 35 days left before the special municipality elections.

Releasing his new policy guidelines on social issues, Chu yesterday pledged to set aside a certain percentage of living space in the region for community housing. Suitable areas outlined in his document would include land being redeveloped near future and existing MRT stations.

“A safe living environment and happy working conditions are the dreams of our working class, middle class and our more disadvantaged groups,” he said in a statement. “This will be our next challenge.”

Separately, the KMT candidate pledged to also focus on women’s issues, announcing that he would push for strict new regulations on gender equality in the workplace that would introduce more fines than the government’s Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法).

The two announcements come after recent advertisements released by his campaign claimed the former vice premier has the necessary experience to carry out a seamless transition when Taipei County becomes Sinbei City a month after the elections.

Meanwhile, Tsai said during campaign stops across Taipei County yesterday that she would seek to dramatically increase the amount of community housing, suggesting at one point that she would seek to increase it 10-fold. She called it a move to help more disadvantaged groups and young people participate in urban development.

“We want to plan community housing in a way that creates high living standards and allows their residents to stay where transportation is convenient,” she said.

A key part of her plan would include an acceleration of urban redevelopment near MRT stations. She said that public land acquired by redevelopment projects in the future would be partly used to create community housing.

At present, statistics provided by her campaign show that the -percentage of community housing in Taiwan is about 0.8 percent, compared with much higher percentages in European and other Asian countries. Taiwan should aim for about 10 percent, she said, putting it above Singapore at 9 percent.

Responding to Chu’s campaign ads, the DPP candidate said she also had administrative experience, having also once served as vice premier. A larger question, she said, was whether the experience was good or bad, in a pointed reference to recent allegations of misconduct against Chu published by the -Chinese--language Next Magazine.

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