Tue, Apr 29, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Group labels pilot zone bill ‘suicide’

POCKET KINGDOMS:By bypassing laws, bodies in the pilot zones would be like ‘autonomous regional governments,’ a Taiwan Labor Front spokesman said

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

A proposed bill on the free economic pilot zones project being reviewed in the Legislative Yuan would benefit big business at the expense of the disadvantaged, the environment and the rule of law, the Taiwan Labor Front said yesterday.

The group urged the legislature to abandon it.

“The plan for the zones is absurd: It is aimed at clearing all obstacles lying in the way of large corporations in the name of a free economy. The legislature should immediately stop reviewing a bill that would only lead to the destruction of the economy,” front secretary-general Son Yu-lian (孫友聯) said.

With privileges for businesses in the proposed zones including tax exemptions and uncontrolled flows of capital, personnel and goods, Son said that the plan would pose a big threat to local small and medium-sized businesses, as well as their employees.

“It would only lead to Taiwan’s economic suicide,” he said.

As well as the economic effects, Son said the proposed bill gives too much authority to the administrative bodies of the free economic pilot zones, allowing them to independently make decisions on labor conditions, inspections, business registrations, development and construction permissions, as well as environmental assessments.

“If the legislation is adopted, administrative bodies in the free economic pilot zones would be more or less like autonomous regional governments,” Son said. “According to our own calculation, the administrative bodies would be exempt from the regulation of more than 20 laws, breaching the rule of law.”

Son said that the government’s efforts to boost the economy should aim to benefit a majority, because it has been proven that corporations are reluctant to share their gains with their employees.

“By proposing this legislation, the government is castrating itself,” Son said. “For the sake of the majority of the people in the nation, the legislature should refuse to review such a bill.”

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