Mon, Oct 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Legislators refloat moving capital to country’s south

By Cheng Hung-ta  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) yesterday welcomed a suggestion by Premier William Lai (賴清德) to relocate the capital, calling on the Executive Yuan to form a committee to oversee preparations to make Taichung the national capital.

The committee should be tasked with assessing the potential impact such a move would have, setting a timetable and securing the support of the DPP, as well as opposition parties and the public, said Huang, whose constituency is in Taichung.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yen Kuan-hen (顏寬恆), also from Taichung, during a question-and-answer session on Friday asked Lai whether his belief that the capital should be moved had changed.

Lai advocated such a move during his time as a lawmaker.

Lai told Yen that as Taipei is an overpopulated and earthquake-prone basin, he hopes to alleviate the city’s burden.

Lai said he hopes to position the nation’s economic hub in the north, its administrative hub in the center and its political hub in the south, and requested the KMT’s support should the government make a formal decision to move the capital.

Huang welcomed Lai’s ideas, but said that the move would involve a redistribution of administrative resources and therefore necessitate a strong consensus between the ruling party, opposition parties and the public.

The Executive Yuan should form an intergovernmental committee to oversee preparations, including making plans, assessing the potential impact, gauging public opinion and garnering support for the plan, he said.

The committee should also collaborate with lawmakers that espouse moving the capital, he said.

Many countries have moved their capitals and benefited from the move, Huang said, adding that Taichung is relatively spacious, which is conducive if the government were to move administrative or legislative activities there.

Sufficient public support and resolve at the agencies concerned would be key to carrying out such a plan, he said, adding that the committee should set clear timetables and development goals.

New Power Party Legislator-at-large Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that some lawmakers had called for the Legislative Yuan to be moved to Taichung, but such discussions were stymied because opinions differed widely, which was a “pity.”

He recommended separating the country’s political and economic hub, like in the US, so that “not all eggs are put in the same basket,” which could paralyze the nation should any contingency occur in Taipei.

Hsu said that he hoped the discussion on Friday could renew discussions about the issue.

Moving the legislature to Taichung would not only help the nation bring about systemic reform, but could also inspire other central government agencies to follow suit, as they need to communicate with the parliament when their budgets are under review, he said.

He also questioned the need to concentrate the government’s five branches in Taipei.

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