Lawmaker turns eyes to KMT's assets

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun, Jul 27, 2003 - Page 3

An independent lawmaker said he will propose a public scholarship for children in low-income families to give them a fair chance at a proper education, with funds for the scheme coming out of the deep pockets of the pan-blue camp.

"The KMT should think about donating cash from its abundant resources to help forward the scholarship program," Legislator Peter Lin (林進興) said.

The KMT is thought to be the world's richest political party.

Lin said he devised the scholarship proposal after being touched by the story of Lei Chia-chia (雷家佳) and Chang Ying-hua (張穎華), two high school graduates who recently competed for a place in the law department of the National Defense Management College.

The teenagers were both from low-income households unable to afford the costs of studying at a public university.

Lin said that tuition fees in Taiwan are not high compared to other countries with high-quality education systems, such as the US.

But he believed that "formulating auxiliary measures, such as more scholarship programs, is necessary to assure that the financially disadvantaged minority are not affected by the high costs of our educational policy."

He said that the idea of using KMT assets for the scholarship came up after the education debate was politicized.

"Using their party assets for the benefit of education is a good idea," Lin said. "The measure could hopefully solve a pending dispute over the former ruling party's legitimacy in possessing the tremendous amounts of property it obtained during its half-century of dictatorial rule."

Claiming that his idea has received support from other lawmakers, Lin said he will submit his proposal to the legislature when lawmakers return from their summer recess in September.

He hoped that the scholarship, dubbed the "Taiwan Hope scholarship," would be realized with a legislative resolution and set up by the government soon.

But Lin's plan to connect the scholarship with the KMT's assets came up against immediate objections by KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chiu (洪秀柱).

Hung blasted that "anyone who really cares about education problems would not initiate such a motion."

The scheme was proposed with bad intentions and attempts to raise debate over issues other than education, said Hung, an experienced lawmaker who has focused on educational affairs for years.

"Creating more scholarships is only an educational stopgap. The KMT refuses to give any response to Lin's proposal," Hung said.

However, TSU Legislator Ho Min-hao (何敏豪) admired Lin's idea.

"It would be great if the nation could take back the property illegally acquired by the KMT and turn it into scholarship cash," Ho said.

He said even if Lin's idea is not realized, the government needs to create public scholarships to help children from low-income households gain access to education.

A DPP lawmaker said he respected Lin's plan, but he played down the possibility of the DPP administration carrying out his idea.

"It's wrong to link the KMT's assets to the creation of a scholarship, since the KMT's illegally gained assets should be returned to the people and not be transferred by the government into a public scholarship," DPP Legislator Chen Chin-jun (陳景峻) said.

Political commentator Li Hsiao-feng (李筱峰) shared a similar view.

"The KMT's Ill-gotten gains cannot be taken as the source of a scholarship. The assets should return to the people and the country instead of being used as scholarships," Li said.

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