Taipei, (CNA) The Taiwan government has withdrawn its decision to award the construction contract for the “Taipei Twin Towers” project to a Hong Kong-based consortium and a Malaysian property developer, due to national security concerns, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Wednesday.
Nan Hai Development Ltd. of Hong Kong and Malton Berhad of Malaysia had qualified last December in the bidding process as the most favored bidders for the multi-billion project in west Taipei, but in light of the former’s close ties to China, the award of the contract to the two companies has been revoked, said Yang Shu-ling (楊淑玲), spokesperson for the MOEA’s Investment Commission.
Nan Hai has been deemed a Chinese-funded enterprise because the financial statements of its parent company show that Nan Hai’s administrative center and most of its employees and business operations are in China, while more than half of the board members of its parent company are Chinese citizens, Yang said.
Given that the pilot project is located in a specially designated area within Taipei Railway Station, which is the hub of Taipei’s metro, bus, high speed rail and train systems, the project cannot be carried out by a consortium with such close links to China, she said.
Nan Hai’s close ties to China could pose a grave threat to Taiwan’s national security if it were allowed to develop the multipurpose complex, Yang said, citing Article 7 of Taiwan’s Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals.
The company has the right to file an appeal with the Cabinet within 30 days, she added.
Since last December when Nan Hai and Malton Berhad were selected by the Investment Commission as the most favored applicants, the two companies have placed about NT$1 billion in a fund in Taiwan and have set up a branch office in Taipei.
Commenting on the MOEA’s decision, Nan Hai Development said it is consulting with its lawyers and will seek to protect its rights and resolve the issue through legal channels.
Taipei Department of Rapid Transit Systems Chief Secretary Wang Wei (王偉), meanwhile, said the MOEA’s decision was regrettable but he respected it.
According to the terms of the contract, the government could move on to the next preferred bidder, Hongwell Group, or restart the tender process, Wang said.