Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Legislator blasts agency budget requests

By Tseng Wen-chen  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) excoriated the NT$2.4 million (US$80,000) in budget requests from government agencies that are set to be merged or abolished and urged his colleagues in the legislature to reject the funding.

The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC) is to be merged into the Mainland Affairs Council, while the Taiwan Provincial Government, the Fujian Provincial Government and the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council (TPCC) have been made powerless, but these agencies still sent in budgets for overseas visit plans for next year, Lee said.

Among them, the MTAC has requested NT$628,000 for a nine-member delegation to China to collect information on the rare-earth industry and development projects of Taiwan’s high-tech industries.

Lee said it would make more sense if the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology or the Academia Sinica took the trip.

In jest, Lee said that if the MTAC is able to persuade China to relax its limits on rare-earth exports, the commission could play a major role in cross-strait economic talks.

In response, MTAC Minister Jaclyn Tsai (蔡玉玲) said that there would indeed be representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the science ministry and the Industrial Technology Research Institute in the delegation, and that her agency is organizing the trip because it is more experienced in interacting with Mongolian regions in China, which have important rare-earth mines.

“The Fujian Provincial Government is visiting overseas compatriots of Fujian origin in the Philippines and Indonesia, the Taiwan Provincial Government is visiting the states of Nevada and New Mexico in the US, while the TPCC is taking part in the US National Conference of State Legislatures and attending an academic conference on digitizing archives in China,” Lee said.

“The Taiwan Provincial Government and the TPCC have not had any actual power for years; they have no elected officials, representatives or experience in promoting policies,” Lee added. “What do these two institutions have to ‘exchange’ with state governments in the US?”

Lee said that while the DPP caucus has repeatedly questioned these budgets each year, they always get passed with support of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus. However, he said that the DPP caucus would stand firmly by its own position when reviewing such funding requests.

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