Sat, Jun 08, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Ma apologizes over amendment flap

ACCOUNTING ERROR:President Ma Ying-jeou said neither the government nor the KMT had thoroughly thought through an amendment to the Accounting Act

By Mo Yan-chih and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporters

When asked by reporters why he changed his stance, Jiang did not give many details.

The Executive Yuan has been closely following the reaction of various sectors of society to the amendment and found that it did contain parts that are “inappropriate” which would make its implementation difficult, he said.

The premier said the amendment was too “harsh” on academics and researchers and too “lenient” on elected officials.

The amendment, under which elected officials involved in misuse of public funds would not be prosecuted regardless of how the funds were spent, while academics and researchers involved in irregularities in reimbursement for grants would not be prosecuted if funds were spent on research-related purposes and not for private purposes, “was inconsistent with the principle of fairness,” Jiang said.

In the week since the amendment was passed, the Executive Yuan had insisted that the premier would countersign it, which is required for the president to promulgate the bill, as stipulated in Article 37 of the Constitution.

However, Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) yesterday said Jiang would be failing public expectations if he countersigned the amendment considering “the high degree of concern the public has shown” over the issue.

KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said the caucus would firmly support the Executive Yuan.

Su said the DPP backed having the legislature reconsider the amendment.

“Our position is very clear — the flawed amendment passed by the legislature has to be remedied. Using public funds on private matters cannot be decriminalized,” Su told a press conference yesterday morning.

The DPP appreciates Ma response to the public’s concerns over the legislation, Su said.

Meanwhile, DPP caucus whips Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) also publicly apologized for the caucus’ handling of the amendment, bowing as they did so.

Ker said the caucus hoped Wang would hold interparty negotiations on the issue as soon as possible and hold a provisional session on Monday to resolve the problem.

Additional reporting by Rich Chang

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