Disgruntled legislator says he's quitting the DPP

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Dec 05, 2003 - Page 3

Upset with the decision by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus to delay deliberation on a bill he favored, Legislator Chu Hsing-yu (朱星羽) yesterday announced his withdrawal from the party.

"I proclaim my withdrawal from the DPP now," Chu said yesterday after Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said the bill -- proposed revisions to a statute governing rewards for tax inspectors -- would not be referred to legislative negotiations.

Chu, the main advocate for the proposed amendments, declared that "this is the saddest day of my 23-year political life. I need to apologize to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and my supporters for making this decision."

"But the decision was based upon my conscience," he said.

The proposed revisions had won endorsement from 163 ruling and opposition lawmakers, Chu said. He said the DPP caucus wanted to block it in order to win votes from the nation's 15,000 tax inspectors.

Chu believes the annual reward system for tax inspectors who have caught tax evaders needs to be revised because the inspectors's excessive checks have interfered with people's lives.

But officials from the Ministry of Finance say the reward system has been institutionalized as part of tax officials' stipends. They said deliberation would be needed to any proposed alterations to the system.

Leaders of the DPP caucus upheld the ministry's view and demanded the revisions be delayed.

Chu's announcement was praised by pan-blue lawmakers, but DPP legislative leaders vowed to hold further discussions with Chu.