Group wants donations to bolster arms budget

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 2

As a special arms procurement bill has been stalled in the Legislative Yuan for a long time and there is no sign yet that it will be passed, the Northern Taiwan Society (NTS) yesterday urged people to donate NT$100 to help gather the necessary amount for the budget, and to fund military research.

"The arms procurement bill concerns the security of the people of Taiwan, and has become a shitty show in the legislature. We feel sorry to see that politicians sacrificed national security to achieve their political aims. People have lost their patience," NTS chairman Wu Shuh-min (吳樹民) said in a news conference yesterday afternoon.

"According to the current situation, it is impossible to expect legislators to pass an arms sale bill that could protect our security. The people of Taiwan have to rely on themselves, and can't wait any longer."

Therefore, the NTS launched a fundraiser, hoping each person in Taiwan can donate NT$100 to accumulate the budget for the weapons, Wu said.

The society aims to collect NT$100 million before February, and expects that 1 million people would support the activity.

The fundraising idea was proposed by a participant who joined in a parade held on Sept. 25 that protested the pan-blue camp's opposition to the arms sale bill in the Legislative Yuan, Wu said.

"`Many a little makes a mickle.' Although the amount we collect might not be enough to buy one of those weapons that the government plans to purchase, at least such a fundraiser might evoke people's recognition of the importance to protect the country in all practical aspects," said Chet Yang (楊文嘉), secretary-general of the NTS.

The society will establish a committee to take charge of monitoring donations, and some of the funds will be used for encouraging military research or for scholarships for military-school students.

"Hopefully this activity can become another patriotism movement," he said.

Two senior advisers to the president, Wu Li-pei (吳澧培) and Chen Chi-sheng (陳繼盛) and Academia Sinica's Liao Shu-tsung (廖述宗) also attended the news conference to voice support for the fundraiser.

Yang said the society will hold a series of activities to promote the fundraiser over the next few weeks and will invite Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to serve as fundraisers.

People who are interested in making a donation can call (02) 2396-0900 or check the Web site for further information.