Taiwan's ruling party is split over whether the law should be changed to legalise the establishment of casinos on outlying islands. William Lai Ching-the, the Democratic Progressive Party's caucus whip, said on Saturday that he wanted to put off a cross-party consultation on the subject, the semi-official Central News Agency reported yesterday. His remarks came shortly after Premier Frank Hsieh Chang-ting said during a visit to the outlying island of Quemoy on Thursday that if the island's governments and councils approved the setting up of tourism casinos, then Taipei would give its support to the projects. Mr Hsieh also expressed hope that the DPP's legislative caucus would give the party's legislators the freedom to vote on a proposed amendment. The legislature is scheduled to hold a cross-party consultation on the proposed amendment today. Mr Lai pointed out that Mr Hsieh's three predecessors were all opposed to the introduction of casinos on outlying islands and had vetoed the proposal. However, he said if Mr Hsieh had a different opinion, the DPP caucus would discuss the issue again. The opposition Kuomintang and People First Party have yet to express a firm view on the casino proposal. They say the residents of the islands should have a say in the matter.