Thu, Nov 10, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Tsai pushes Ma on farmers’ subsidy

STOP STALLING:The DPP chairperson called on the government to take the lead so that a conclusion could be reached to end the cross-party argument

By Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporter, in Miaoli County

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Su Chen-ching, Chiu Yi-ying and Liu Chien-kuo, left to right, talk to reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to pass the DPP’s version of legislation related to farmers’ subsidies in the legislature as soon as possible.

The KMT, which enjoys a majority in the Legislative Yuan, should take the initiative to solve the controversial issue, which has been stalled for months, Tsai said during a presidential campaign stop in Miaoli County.

“We urge President Ma and the KMT to stop its stalling tactics and end its refusal to initiate inter--party negotiation on the bill by speeding up the legislation process to pass the bill before the current legislative session concludes,” she said.

The DPP and the KMT have been engaged in a fierce debate about increasing the elderly farmers’ monthly subsidy, which is NT$6,000 per month.

Different proposals, including ones drafted by the DPP caucus, the KMT caucus, the Executive Yuan and several KMT legislators, still need to be discussed in the legislature.

The DPP caucus proposed raising the monthly subsidy by NT$1,000, but the Executive Yuan on Oct. 20 decided it should be increased by NT$316.

Tsai said that the production of various agricultural produce around the country, — and fruit in particular — has become unbalanced of late.

“However, President Ma has turned a blind eye to the phenomenon, which is difficult to understand because Ma has been traveling around the nation and should be able to understand what is happening,” she added.

The amendment to the Temporary Statute Regarding the Welfare Pension of Senior Farmers (老年農民福利津貼暫行條例) has not cleared the legislature because the issue of farmers’ subsidies has come to resemble a bidding war between the two parties ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.

While the DPP has proposed an increase to NT$7,000, a number of KMT legislators have come up with different proposals, including increases to NT$7,500 and NT$10,000 a month.

Three KMT legislators, Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和), Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) and Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞), have said that they would firmly oppose the Executive Yuan’s proposal.

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