Wu wants gov’t to stop building useless facilities

The China Post news staff

Premier Wu Den-yih Friday said the government must stop constructing public facilities that would end up with no one using them. Many of these idle public facilities, commonly dubbed “houses of mosquitoes,” have been problems for years, and the government cannot be expected to solve them with one touch of a magic wand, said Wu. Some of these facilities were built for election or personal purposes, and others were the results of misjudgments, he said, adding the problems need to be solved step by step. But the very step to be taken is to stop building more “houses of mosquitoes,” as developing good “software” would be more meaningful than building more facilities, the premier said. He said he has already instructed the Public Construction Commission (PCC) to make a list of all such idle facilities and start handling them. Wu’s remarks were made during a discussion with a fine arts scholar, Yao Jui-chung, and his students. They have compiled a book on the idle public facilities around Taiwan. Yao suggested during the meeting that the government release the facilities for use by non-profit groups, according to the Central News Agency. The central government should work closely with local administrations to deal with the problems, and money should not spent further on demolishing those idle facilities, which should be reinvigorated for other purposes, Yao said. The premier said he hopes Yao and his students can continue to serve as the government’s “feet, eyes, and heart,” making field trips around Taiwan to help the government discover other defects. PCC Chairwoman Fan Liang-hsiu said that since her taking of office the PCC has stopped building such houses of mosquitoes.

Many of the existing houses of mosquitoes were built without careful evaluation and planning, Fan said. According to the PCC, 158 idle facilities have been recorded, with 71 government personnel having been punished. Five of the houses of mosquitoes have been demolished. An office building was built on a plot of private land that had never been acquired by the government. The building has been torn down and the land returned to its original owner.