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Ma tries to soothe Hau's debt ceiling blues

The China Post news staff--President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday told Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin “not to worry” about the impact of the revised Public Debt Act on the finances of the capital city, according to Hau.

Ma's remarks came one day after Hau and eight Kuomintang legislators held a press conference to protest the Executive Yuan's amendment to the Public Debt Act. Under the amendment, Taipei's debt ceiling will be nearly halved by NT$225 billion, insuring major construction projects within the city will likely be postponed or halted.

In his capacity as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, Ma visited the St. Anne's Home in Taipei yesterday morning in the company of Hau to serve as a volunteer there as part of activities to celebrate the 118th founding anniversary of the ruling party.

This is the first time Hau and Ma have simultaneously appeared at the same occasion after the controversial amendment to the Public Debt Act was announced.

Hau told reporters that he asked President Ma to help the Taipei City Government cushion the impact of the sharp debt ceiling cut. “President Ma told me that he would move to understand the situations and asked me not to worry about it,” Hau told reports.

Ma also told Hau that he didn't understand the details of the sharp debt ceiling cut for Taipei before it was publicized, according to Hau.

Hau said that the Cabinet should communicate with various municipalities so that it can work out reasonable and feasible amendments to the Public Debt Act.

At the press conference held Friday, Hau blasted the Cabinet for its lack of communication with the Taipei City Government, saying that Taipei was not notified of the draft's contents and that the Cabinet's action was like a “surprise attack against Taipei.”

Also yesterday, Premier Sean Chen said that although mayors of the five municipalities are all not satisfied with the amendments to the Public Debt Act, the Cabinet has taken into consideration all the factors favorable to every city when drafting the amendments.

Chen made the remarks in response to questions from reporters while attending an opening ceremony for a forestry park in Chiayi County.

Chen said the nation's overall debt ceiling limit should be kept at a reasonable level and can't be recklessly raised further, or national finances will suffer.

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