Published : 2013-01-15 22:35
Updated : 2013-01-15 22:35
SEJONG (Yonhap News) -- President Lee Myung-bak ordered the Cabinet Tuesday to thoroughly review the recently passed bill to provide financial support to the taxi industry, a possible indication that he might veto it.
The ruling and opposition parties passed the bill through parliament in late December. Criticism arose that the bill was hurriedly pushed through only to win the support of tens of thousands of taxi drivers.
The bill designates taxis as a form of mass transportation, along with buses, subways and trains, making it eligible for government subsidies and other benefits.
In a Cabinet meeting, held in the administrative city of Sejong for the first time this year, several ministers expressed concerns over the taxi bill, and Lee said he will respect their decision.
"I want you to have serious discussions, taking into consideration the future of the nation," spokesman Park Jung-ha quoted Lee as saying. "I will respect the decision by Cabinet members."
His remark came amid reports that the president is negative about the bill, which is one of the campaign pledges of both the ruling and opposition parties ahead of last month's presidential election. Critics said the bill would lead to tax hikes during the economic slump.
Lee has until Jan. 26 to endorse or veto the bill.
Several ministers reportedly voiced concern over the bill during the Cabinet meeting.
Transportation Minister Kwon Do-yeop voiced objection to the bill, saying that it's "unprecedented" to classify taxis as a public transporation in other countries and that it could conflict with other laws.
Kwon pointed out it is unfair to provide taxis, which do not operate with fixed routes, with the same treatment as other means of mass transportation.
Maeng Hyung-kyu, the home affairs minister, said passing the law without consulting with provincial governments could interfere with their power and additional funding could cause them financial strain.