Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators demanded Tuesday that the government delay its electricity rate hike plan and said the party will help the public to seek state compensation for rising commodity prices.
They described President Ma Ying-jeou as the "prime culprit" in the commodity price increases, which they said have already gone up even before the implementation of the first stage of power rate hikes scheduled to take effect June 10.
DPP Legislator Pan Men-an said at a press conference that the government's policies on fuel and electricity price increases have caused the prices of certain commodities to soar.
He said that a 1.44 percent year-on-year increase in Taiwan's Consumer Price Index, which was announced by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics a day earlier, does not correspond with how people feel.
The price of natural gas rose by 21.85 percent between January and April this year, for which the president must bear full responsibility, he said.
Another DPP lawmaker, Chen Ting-fei, said that a certain brand of children's milk powder and a brand of infant formula were up by 7.52 percent and 9.55 percent, respectively.
In addition to postponing the June rate hike, the government should also compensate the people for their losses resulting from Ma's wrong policy, Pan went on, adding that the party will help anyone planning to demand state compensation for rising living costs.
Meanwhile, DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the state-run oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan and Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) should announce the selling and purchase prices of natural gas because gas prices are highly relevant to electricity rates.
He also questioned the budgets allocated by the government to the CPC and Taipower.
Others, meanwhile, said Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng should take the credit for the government implementing the power rate hikes in three stages rather than in a one-time increase.
However, Wang said earlier in the day that the "wise decision" was the president's.
Wang confirmed that he and Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih discussed the matter April 29 and reached an agreement that Wang put forward to Ma. It was Ma who made the decision, he noted.
"The president has to listen to many opinions every day and is responsible for making final decisions," Wang pointed out.
(By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Ho Meng-kuei, Tseng Ying-yu and Nell Shen)