President Chen vows to hold up controversial biweekly work schedule

The China Post staff

President Chen Shui-bian yesterday vowed to hold up the controversial 84-hour biweekly working schedule until the economy improves, according to lawmakers. Chen yesterday met with a group of KMT lawmakers, who later said the president was ready to make an all out effort to salvage the economy. The president was quoted by lawmakers as saying that he hoped the legislature could revise the 84-hour biweekly work schedule, which he said was a mistake that resulted from heated arguments between lawmakers. Chen also suggested that the government may cut taxes to boost income instead of raising taxes. Cutting taxes could stimulate the economy, so that government income may increase with an economic recovery, Chen said. The president also agreed to suggestions by lawmakers that industrial land be rent-free for five years to encourage investments, said KMT lawmaker Hsu Shu-po. The president stressed that the upcoming economic development committee meetings will set aside ideologies and discuss anything, including mainland policies, the lawmakers reported. Chen also admitted that even if the Legislative Yuan’s extraordinary session, expected next week, passes the six financial bills, they may not work a miracle to cure all the economic woes at once.

But the reform should solve some problems in the meantime, he said. During their talks, Chen also touched on the possibility of a coalition government, according to lawmakers. Chen said he had considered forming a coalition after taking office. The upcoming economic development committee meeting should provide a mechanism for party-to-party communications, and such a mechanism may serve as a transition to a coalition government, the president said.