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Bills to revamp military communities panned as wasteful

Bills to revamp military communities panned as wasteful

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers on Tuesday slammed an opposition-sponsored bill to amend rules governing renonation of old military residential communities as wasteful and politically motivated.
They called on the opposition Kuomintang legislative caucus to withdraw the measure, saying it would benifit only a tiny group of people but would cost the government an enormous amount of money.
At issue are proposed revisions to the Act for Revamping Old Communities for Military Households that would cost the government NT$1,376 billion if the bill clears the Legislature.
The Procedure Committee put the measure on the agenda for the legislative session Friday.
DPP Legislator Lai Ching-te said opposition lawmakers used their numerical advantage in the National Defense Committee Monday to ram through several draft articles to the act.
Lai said if the Legislature approves the proposed amendments, they will also be applied to retired soldiers taking residency outside military communities.
Together, KMT and People First Party lawmakers introduced another amendment to the Act Monday that would provide compensations for retired soldiers whose old houses are being reconstruted.
Lai said that if the compensation bill goes through its third reading, it will cost the government another NT$2.6 billion.
"What good these bills are going to do to the Taiwan society as a whole?”Lai asked, urging the KMT caucus to take the bills back.
Sandy Yen, another DPP lawmaker, said the public will have to shoulder the costs for implementing the legal revisions that would benefit only the 530,000 retired soldiers in the country.
She panned the bills in violation of the principle of fairness as other groups of the nation do not enjoy similar benifits.
Lai and Yen pointed out that Veterans Affairs Commission has an annual budget of more than NT$200 billion whereas the Department of the Social Affairs under the Ministry of Interior has an annual budget of betwen NT$70 billion and NT$80 billion. The latter has to take charge of all the people in Taiwan, Yen noted.
The two DPP lawmakers challenged KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou to explain why his party has to pander to the 530,000 retired soldiers and ignore the welfare of other groups.