Sat, Apr 19, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislature’s repair costs to be lower than expected

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng talks to the media outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Legislative Yuan has made public the estimated amount needed for the renovation of the legislative chamber that was occupied by protesters, and it is even lower than the amount appraised earlier by the group “Space Team” (空間團), consisting of professionals and technicians who, before and after the student-led protesters exited the chamber, had been to the scene before the exit of the students to conduct an on-site evaluation.

Before and after the end of the occupation, certain media outlets such as CtiTV (中天新聞), Chinese-language United Daily News and Central News Agency had speculated about the great damage and financial costs caused by the occupation of the Legislative Yuan in protest against the cross-strait service trade agreement, including damages made to electronic equipment, carpet and furniture.

Some reports suggested that the repair costs would run up to NT$100 million (US$3.3 million).

The Space Team provided their appraisal result earlier this week, saying the amount needed would be less than NT$3.5 million.

The Legislative Yuan yesterday released a statement saying that the total estimated cost would be about NT$2.85 million.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that a “good-hearted person” has promised to pay the indemnities that the protesters would have been subject to and “his decision has met with applause in the cross-party negotiation” yesterday morning.

That person is Chinese National Federation of Industries chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄), who during the occupation called on protesters to “go back home and study” and “stop obstructing the legislature’s operation” before the protesters’ exit.

In response to media queries on whether the Legislative Yuan would sue the protesters for the damage, Wang said: “probably not.”

However, later yesterday the Democratic Front Against Cross-Strait Trade in Service Agreement (反黑箱服貿民主陣線) issued a statement, rejecting Hsu’s offer to foot the bill.

Group spokesperson Lai Chung-chiang (賴中強) said that if Hsu pays for the indemnities, unnecessary disputes may occur because Hsu would be in a position to decide whether to seek legal action against individuals for compensation of the indemnities he paid.

Lai added that the Chinese National Federation of Industries has in the past several times urged the legislature to pass the pact and has opposed increases to the minimum wage, one of the reasons behind the poor salary prospect confronting young people.

The group therefore cannot accept Hsu’s “goodwill,” Lai said.

Additional reporting by Tseng Wei-chen

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