Backing a motion by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁), the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday demanded that the Ministry of the Interior reject a land development proposal in New Taipei City’s Sanchong District (三重), saying that the project would profit Ting Hsin International Group (頂新國際集團), the food conglomerate involved in a series of tainted cooking oil scandals.
The controversial development project, proposed by the New Taipei City Government, involves a 15,828.31 ping (52,325m2) plot of land owned by Wei Chuan Foods Corp (味全食品工業) — a subsidiary of Ting Hsin — and it proposes changing the registration of the land from industrial to commercial use.
Critics say the move would lead to lucrative gains for Ting Hsin, as commercial land has a much higher market price than industrial land, while also paving the way for further real-estate investment projects.
Chen criticized the Ministry of the Interior’s Urban Planning Evaluation Committee for not blocking the proposal at the evaluation stage, saying that the incident raised questions about whether the ministry might be “covering up” for Ting Hsin.
DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) said changes in the registration of large plots of land should only be made for national security or economic development reasons, adding that he failed to see why the proposal passed the evaluation process at the ministry so swiftly.
However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the project was proposed so that a new MRT station could be built in the area and urged his fellow lawmakers to view the case independently from the tainted food scandals.
In response, Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) said he respected the committee’s decision and would demand that the New Taipei City Government provide more information about the project so that it could be re-evaluated.
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