KMT proposes freezing special budget aimed at buttressing Taiwan's economy

President Tsai Ing-wen urges all parties to work together during coronavirus threat

Legislators review special budget to mitigate impact of coronavirus on economy. 

Legislators review special budget to mitigate impact of coronavirus on economy.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — During the legislature's review of the NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) special budget on Monday (March 9), the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party sponsored a motion to freeze 80 percent of the funding aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the country.

In a bid to fight against the outbreak, the Cabinet on Feb. 13 announced a one-year NT$60 billion package to boost the country's businesses, including restaurants, traditional market and night market vendors, and the retail and trade fair sectors. One-third of the budget will also go toward coupons for Taiwanese to encourage spending on tourism and transportation.

During the meeting, KMT legislators Wong Chung-chun (翁重鈞), Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗), and Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) moved to freeze NT$48 billion of the budget, saying that the government should not be granted such a massive amount of funding. Wong added that the remaining funds should be reviewed thoroughly over the next four weeks, reported Liberty Times.

Despite the motion being voted down, the KMT has received waves of criticism from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and many internet users in the country. Some netizens bashed the party for "freezing compensation for frontline medical workers" and "opposing any proposals issued by the DPP regardless of their legitimacy."

When commenting on the incident to the media, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed her hope that all political parties would remain united during this critical period and prioritize the safety and health of all Taiwanese. She emphasized that the government has created preliminary plans for Taiwan's short- and long-term future, reported Storm Media.