Mon, Nov 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Lienchiang’s Yang wants new term to realize lofty ideals

By Lu Hsien-hsiu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A brush with death on an airplane inspired Lienchiang County Commissioner Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to dedicate himself to improving the county’s infrastructure.

However, Yang, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 29 poll, has said that despite the progress achieved during his time as commissioner, there is still more work to be done before Lienchiang’s infrastructure matches his ideals.

In 1996, Yang was flying to Nangan Airport on Nangan Island (南竿島) when his plane was forced to make an emergency landing at sea due to bad weather. A doctor by profession, Yang and his wife helped the other passengers, and he said it was then that he swore to try and improve the county’s travel facilities.

While serving as acting head of the Lienchiang Bureau of Construction in 1997, Yang bought the TaiMa Transport ship to facilitate travel between Taiwan proper and Matsu. Since the vessel is more than 20 years old, Yang has since ordered another two ships, the TaiMa Transport II and the Jewel of the East for the same route.

Both ships are due to be delivered to the Lienchiang County Government this year.

In a recent interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), Yang said that he has spent more than a decade studying how local airport facilities could be improved, adding that through changes to regulations and hardware facilities, he has increased the safety of traveling to Matsy by air.

The county recently bought a localizer-type directional aid device to help pilots conduct instrument approaches and has also altered regulations to change the instrument approach visibility range from 5,000m to 3,200m and the range of altitude in cases of fog to 560m from 1,500m.

Yang said that aside from the travel sector, the county’s tourism industry is also making great progress.

A referendum to build a casino on Matsu that passed in 2012 — it was approved by local residents, but is yet to be ratified by the Legislative Yuan — is to bring about great changes for the island, including the establishment of an international airport, the construction of a causeway connecting Nangan and Beigan (北竿), and the building of international tourist resorts, Yang said.

Meanwhile, Yang’s rival in the race for commissioner, fellow KMT member Liu Tseng-ying (劉增應), said he hoped to be elected so he could instigate a drive to improve county-wide medical policies.

The KMT has chosen not to back either candidate, but allow both to represent it in the election without penalty.

As the nation’s youngest bureau of health director at the age of 35, Liu said he has done his best to improve the county’s medical facilities, for example by implementing free health checkups for residents.

“Matsu is a hub between Taiwan and China that holds great potential for development as long as its resources are used correctly,” Liu said in a recent interview with the Liberty Times.

Liu said he has also instituted a system that enables Matsu students to study in medical universities on Taiwan proper, but binds them by contract to return to the island to serve at a local hospital for six to 10 years.

“This policy has greatly limited medical staff’s movement, which has ensure stable, quality medical service within the county,” Liu said, adding that he has also campaigned successfully for funding to build two new medical complexes to better meet the needs of residents with more serious medical conditions.

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