Mon, Sep 12, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Legislators do nothing

By Lee Yen-mou

With regard to Taiwan's purchase of an arms package from the US, most Taiwanese do not realize what the weapons involved really are. They do realize that the content and specifics are complex. They also realize that political and ideological differences cannot be avoided among the ethnic groups and parties in Taiwan.

Why isn't the issue of purchasing arms being debated in the Legislative Yuan? Some might be in doubt as to whether the Executive Yuan has provided sufficient details, and whether it has been sufficiently cooperative.

However, the fact remains that the Legislative Yuan has not faced up to its responsibility. Although the KMT and the People First Party (PFP) do not agree on the issue, they have no right to block the bill consigned to committee for deliberation. In fact, the package has been talked about and reported on in the media for over a year. The legislators have voted down, within the Procedure Committee, the inclusion of the arms budget 27 times.

In theory, regardless of who originally initiated the package, how the content might have changed, whether the expenditures were justified, and whether the weapons and technology might be appropriate, and how incomplete or imperfect the series of purchases might be, the legislators have a duty to perform as elected representatives of the people on the issue. They have the right to delete the budget, deny the bill or return it to the Executive Yuan, but they should not ignore or boycott the subject matter.

Many people often ask the question: "What's wrong with the Legislative Yuan? Do all legislators do nothing but boycott?" People want to know about the process of deliberation inside the legislature, not outside of it.

Without regard to political affiliation and ideological differences, the Legislative Yuan should face up to the issue and have the issues debated, modified or amended, through the appropriate committee and then in the Legislative Yuan at large.

Then, have a decision taken by vote of the members of the Legislative Yuan, either for or against.

Lee Yen-mou

Taipei

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