Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) should not pass the buck if he cannot deliver the “love Ferris wheel” he promised during his mayoral campaign last year, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.
On Sunday, Han, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, accused the ministry of making it difficult for the Kaohsiung City Government to secure property at the Port of Kaohsiung to develop the project.
“Han should really review the city’s plans to obtain and develop the property, and how to secure a permit for the development,” Lin said. “That would require coordination between officials of the central and city governments.”
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
“Han should not criticize and pass the buck if he is having difficulty fulfilling a campaign promise,” he said, adding: “We remain positive that the project could go ahead, if communications continue.”
Lin asked what measures would be implemented to make the project compatible with the port, given that it would be an entertainment facility on property belonging to the nation’s largest seaport.
Empty words without concrete steps to execute the project would not make things happen, he said.
“I suggest that Mayor Han take a look at the Mitsui Outlet Park in the Port of Taichung, which was made possible through the joint efforts of the central and local governments,” Lin said.
On Sunday, Taiwan International Ports Corp said that it had yet to be contacted by a firm looking to invest in the Ferris wheel project to discuss the use of Pier No. 21, also known as the Old Port Zone.
In other news involving the ministry, Lin said Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) has ceased operations and that the situation would not change in the short term.
FAT on Thursday last week said in a surprise announcement that it had halted operations due to financial difficulties, but the next day, FAT chairman Chang Kang-wei (張綱維) said operations would restart, thanks to an injection of funds.
“We hope that FAT can take actions to remedy the situation,” Lin said yesterday. “The airline will be subject to close scrutiny when it applies to resume operations.”
“The airline not only has financial problems, but also has issues with corporate management,” he said. “It is telling that Mr Chang, who is also the airline’s president and chief financial officer, can simply turn off his mobile phone and the company’s operations go out of control.”
Chang, who could not be reached by the media or colleagues on Thursday after the announcement, reportedly because he had turned his phone off, said later that the decision to shut the company was made by colleagues, who misjudged the situation.
“It is difficult to say that what happened on Thursday last week will not happen again,” he said.
“This is a matter of aviation safety. The Civil Aeronautics Administration is to hear an explanation from the airline, and if it fails to convince the agency, we would move on to the next step of revoking its air operator’s certificate,” Lin said.
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