Vietnam lawmaker calls for parliamentary investigation of Taiwanese fish killer

By Nguyen Hoai   July 21, 2016 | 07:40 am GMT+7
Vietnam lawmaker calls for parliamentary investigation of Taiwanese fish killer
Vietnam's lawmakers attend the opening ceremony of the first session of new National Assembly at Ba Dinh hall in Hanoi, Vietnam July 20, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham

A raft of violations reflects Formosa's 'disregard for the interest of the Vietnamese'.

A Vietnamese lawmaker has called on the National Assembly, the national legislature, to investigate the Vietnam unit of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group that was held accountable for causing mass fish deaths along the country's central coast last April.

Truong Trong Nghia, an outspoken deputy from Ho Chi Minh City, on Wednesday demanded that a committee be formed to investigate the responsibility of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel in the toxic disaster.

"Formosa has been licensed to do business in Vietnam for 70 years but a raft of its violations have been uncovered during the very first years," Nghia told reporters on the sidelines of the opening session of the newly-installed National Assembly on Wednesday. "Such violations reflect Formosa's disregard for Vietnam's rule of law and the interest of its people."

The Assembly has the mandate to set up such a committee to handle hot-button issues of the country but it has never exercised that power, Nghia said. 

In early April, large quantities of fish washed up dead near the Vung Ang Economic Zone in the central province of Ha Tinh. The disaster stretched 200 kilometers (124 miles) along the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Thua Thien-Hue, resulting in the death of more than 70 tons of sea fish and 35 tons of farm-raised fish.

Especially hard hit were Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue provinces where thousands of fishermen lost customers or were forced to sell at a loss.

In late June, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel admitted its $10.6 billion steel plant had been responsible for the massive fish deaths, pledging $500 million in compensation.

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