Fri, Jun 02, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Turning gentlemen into hoodlums

By Chang Hung-lin 張宏林

Compare this with 52 bills during this legislature’s first session and 93 bills during its second session. It could be expected that the third session would mark a new low for number of bills passing their third reading.

There are 1,186 bills awaiting legislative review. Among these are drafts for the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act (身心障礙者權益保障法), the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法) and the Protection of Children and Youth’s Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法).

The most outrageous obstruction among the bills awaiting review is the demand that the legislature adopt a resolution regarding the WHO. The World Health Assembly is over, but nothing has happened. This is nothing more than naked cooperation with China, harming the nation’s interests to further the KMT’s own narrow interests.

Finally, it is motivated by bloodsucking greed that wastes taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

During the eight days the legislature was treading water, taxpayers still had to foot the NT$5.78 million (US$191,918) bill for the 113 legislators’ salaries. The annual expenditure for the legislature is NT$3.5 billion, which translates to NT$14 million per day, excluding holidays, meaning that eight days of downtime has cost taxpayers about NT$100 million.

However, the DPP’s strategy should also be considered. In the struggle over many of the issues on the legislative agenda, the party has turned its back on procedural justice and has even acted provocatively, thus giving the opposition an excuse for its resistance.

The DPP has also been unable to make good use of its control of both the legislature and the government — and the resources that come with that control — to clearly communicate the necessity of its policies and use that to gain support from the majority of the public, something it has enjoyed in the past.

A member of the British parliament once said with pride that the legislative experience and standards accumulated by parliament over hundreds of years could turn hoodlums into gentlemen.

The legislature is turning gentlemen into hoodlums. The two biggest parties must get their act together and bring the legislature toward normalization and civilized behavior. If they do not, voters will hand power to other parties.

Chang Hung-lin is executive director of Citizen Congress Watch.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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