Differences emerged yesterday between Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on the urgency of revising the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例) following a weekend of protests by farmers and their supporters.
Thousands of farmers and farmers’ rights activists staged an overnight rally against the law on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office over the weekend, which ended yesterday morning.
Jiang yesterday said his ministry had submitted proposed revisions to the Executive Yuan last month.
“The Ministry of the Interior is very concerned with justice in land use and the reform of the land expropriation system, therefore we drafted revision proposals — after hearing different opinions — and sent them to the Executive Yuan on June 24,” Jiang said in a written statement. “[The core ideas in the proposed revisions] are the public’s interests and necessity when it comes to taking over private land.”
Any legislation or legal revisions proposed by the ministry must first be approved by the Executive Yuan before being referred to the legislature for further review.
According to the ministry’s proposed revisions, local governments or developers applying for expropriation must clarify the public interests and necessity involved in the development project to a review commission within the ministry.
In addition, all stakeholders — including residents in the planned expropriation area — would be invited to speak at public hearings before an expropriation application could be approved, the minister said.
Jiang said the ministry would prioritize revision of the act in the next legislative session.
However, while the ministry seemed eager to amend the act, the premier was in less of a rush.
“Revisions to the Land Expropriation Act are something that will have an impact on public construction and thus cannot be done hastily,” Wu said yesterday. “The ministry has sent draft proposals to the Executive Yuan and we will bring together all concerned ministries for further discussion.”
“The Executive Yuan will not act hastily to speed up the amendment process and we will not delay the process out of caution either,” Wu said.
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