The People First Party (PFP) yesterday vowed to propose a motion of condemnation against Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) for “deliberately providing misleading information” to the public in defending the Executive Yuan’s proposed electric ity rate hikes.
PFP Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) announced the move after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday afternoon voted down three motions initiated by the PFP, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union calling for a review at a plenary session of their proposals on various issues.
The opposition wanted to see three items move forward — that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) deliver a national report to the legislature and answer questions from lawmakers, that the Executive Yuan suspend all promotional efforts backing the idea that US beef containing traces of the feed additive ractopamine is safe for human consumption and that the price of 95-octane unleaded gasoline be capped at NT$32.5 a liter and super diesel at NT$28 a liter.
The KMT voted down all three motions to move forward the items, which were initially placed at 17th, 19th and 20th out of a total of 20 items on the session agenda.
Lee accused Chen of misleading the public into believing the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ proposed electricity rate hike was legitimate when he answered a question from DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) by saying the Executive Yuan’s Public Utility Rates Review Committee had been terminated in 1972.
The PFP has said public utility rates must be calculated in accordance with a formula prepared either by the state-owned utility or the relevant government department and that any changes to that formula must be approved by the legislature.
“There was no ruling on the termination of the Public Utility Rates Review Committee. It operated under the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics between 1974 and 1995. Its operations were suspended in 1995, but the commission was never terminated,” Lee said.
Earlier at the legislature’s Procedure Committee, which determines items on the agendas of the plenary session to be held on Friday this week and Tuesday next week, the KMT also stopped a PFP proposal — that the government not go ahead with the proposed electricity rate hike on May 15 — being put on the agenda.
As a result, Lee said his caucus would boycott the legislature’s plenary session on Friday.
DPP lawmakers also walked out of the Procedure Committee meeting in protest.