The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus has called on Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to step down after a train derailment in Hualien County on Friday left 50 people dead.
The accident occurred at 9:28am when the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Taroko Express No. 408, traveling from New Taipei City to Taitung, hit a crane truck as it entered the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林).
At a news conference in Taipei yesterday, members of the KMT’s legislative caucus called on Su and Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) to take responsibility for the accident and resign.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should also apologize to the public, the KMT caucus said.
Su owes the public, as well as the families of the 50 victims, an explanation, KMT Legislator Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said, adding that the tragedy “absolutely could have been avoided” if it were not for the premier’s “negligence.”
An investigation should be launched to determine the administrative responsibility of officials in connection to the accident, she said, adding that it was not enough for them to take “political responsibility.”
“This kind of thing cannot happen in Taiwan, in the Republic of China, again,” she said.
In a statement on Facebook late on Sunday, Lin said he would “take full responsibility” and resign his post once rescue efforts end.
Meanwhile, the KMT caucus is to propose the establishment of an incident review committee at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee scheduled for tomorrow, said KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷), who sits on the committee.
The KMT caucus would donate NT$1 million (US$35,047) to the Hualien and Taitung county governments’ social assistance funds to help the victims’ families and those who were injured in the accident, it said.
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday on Facebook said that holding people at different levels accountable for the accident is “only the first step to comforting the victims.”
A train derailment in Yilan County involving a Puyuma Express train on Oct. 21, 2018, did not prompt the government to make serious reforms, Chiang wrote.
He asked why the government had not learned from the tragedy in 2018 and stressed the importance of undertaking reforms following major “manmade disasters.”
Former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) on Facebook said that the government must “take full responsibility,” including legal, administrative and political responsibility.
“The Tsai administration must set its mind on completely reorganizing Taiwan’s railways,” he said.
“People from Hualien and Taitung need a safe railway and highway to travel home,” Chu added, urging the government not to delay the region’s development.
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