Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he respected a decision by the Investment Commission to reject Nan Hai Corp’s bid for the Taipei Twin Towers project due to national security concerns.
The company was formed by Hong Kong-based Nan Hai Development and Malaysian property developer Malton Berhad.
In December last year, it qualified as the most favored bidder to develop a huge complex near Taipei Railway Station.
The Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems had previously failed five times to secure a developer for the project.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ commission on Wednesday rejected awarding the construction contract to Nan Hai and Malton Berhad, based on Article 7 of the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals (外國人投資條例), in light of Nan Hai’s close ties to China.
Ko said that Nan Hai was allowed to take part in the bidding process because the ministry initially did not consider it as a company backed by Chinese capital.
Nan Hai is also a shareholder of Taiwan’s Sunny Bank, Ko said, urging the commission to explain its decision.
In the absence of objective standards to define national security concerns, the commission’s rejection of the company’s bid could create uncertainty among foreign businesses seeking to invest in Taiwan and is not conducive to attracting foreign investment, Ko said.
He said the Taipei City Government would decide how to deal with the matter after Nan Hai responds, either by filing an administrative appeal or with a lawsuit.
“But that could take a long time,” the mayor added.
Nan Hai has been deemed a Chinese-funded enterprise because financial statements show that its administrative center and most of its employees and business operations are in China, commission spokeswoman Yang Shu-ling (楊淑玲) told a media briefing in Taipei on Wednesday.
She said that national security concerns were behind the commission’s decision, because of the project’s proximity to Taipei Railway Station, which is the hub of the MRT metropolitan rail, the railway, the high-speed railway and the bus station.
The commission would review whether Nan Hai’s investment in Sunny Bank is a national security issue, although it only has a 3.04 percent stake in the bank and does not hold substantive control over corporate operations, Yang said.
Nan Hai could file an administrative appeal with the Executive Yuan within 30 days of the decision’s announcement, the commission said.
Lawyers representing Nan Hai on Wednesday said that Article 7 of the act does not apply to the project and that the commission’s rejection of Nan Hai’s bid could be in contravention of existing regulations.
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