Lawmakers yesterday passed an amendment to the Law Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法) that allows the legislature to invite the president to give a state of the nation address at the legislature each year.
The amendment also stipulates that legislators can question the president after the address, while giving the president the option to respond.
In related developments, the legislature also approved a draft statute that would halve the salaries of the president and the vice president.
If approved, the president’s monthly salary will be reduced from NT$822,000 (US$26,700) to NT$462,780, while the vice president’s salary will drop from NT$616,500 to NT$342,800.
Although President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) volunteered to lower their salaries to NT$448,800 and NT$336,600 respectively in 2001, no law has been passed to formalize the pay cuts.
The Cabinet-initiated draft bill passed a preliminary review last Thursday.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學璋) said at the time that he supported the legislation, adding that the KMT should not seek to raise president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) salary since it had previously advocated a cut in Chen and Lu’s pay.
Meanwhile, the KMT caucus said yesterday that it would never agree to a proposal by the DPP caucus that seeks to relieve the president of any legal responsibility should the court find him or her guilty of misusing the “state affairs” fund.
When asked for comment, KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said it was obvious that the DPP caucus was trying to help Chen circumvent his liability in the “state affairs” fund case by pushing through the proposal before he hands over power on May 20.
The DPP proposal stipulates that all government chiefs who have asked for reimbursements from their special allowance fund or “state affairs” fund with receipts by May 31 should not be charged with any liability.
The legislature will discuss whether to include the proposal in the plenary session agenda next Friday during the Procedure Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Lin said, however, that the KMT caucus was willing to discuss whether to cancel the liability of other government chiefs.
The legislature also reached an agreement to suspend next Tuesday’s plenary session while scheduling additional committee meetings to review more bills on that day.