Sat, Jun 14, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Groups warn on rushing controversial bills

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Taiwan Referendum Alliance and other civic groups raise their hands and chant slogans to express their dissatisfaction with the Cabinet’s version of the oversight mechanism for bilateral agreements with China outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday. The protesters also demanded that the government withdraw its draft bill for the controversial free economic pilot zones.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Civic groups that took part in the occupation of the legislature during the Sunflower movement yesterday “declared war” on the government, saying they might take over the legislature again if the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) rushes to pass controversial legislations on cross-strait relations during the three-week legislative extraordinary session that began yesterday.

“We’re in the game with the government of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) if reviews of the bills on free economic pilot zones, the cross-strait service trade agreement and an oversight mechanism to monitor cross-strait pacts are scheduled during the extra session,” Dennis Wei (魏揚), a member of the Black Island Youth Front, said outside the legislature in Taipei. “We are here to declare war on the government on this Friday the 13th.”

Behind him were three protesters with ropes around their necks and a banner above them that read “Free economic pilot zones equals suicide zones,” expressing their concern that the economic pilot zones would only benefit multinational corporations at the expense of workers.

Wei said the groups are opposed to the economic pilot zones plan and the service trade agreement because of their potential impact on the working class.

While they support legislation to establish an oversight mechanism for cross-strait negotiations and agreements, they believe that it needs more careful discussion and review, and should not be forcibly passed during the three-week extra session, he said.

Wei added that even KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) has acknowledged that it would be difficult for the legislature to review so many bills in three weeks and said that “Ma should not try to force them through.”

“It’s especially ridiculous because the legislature is scheduled to review nominees for the Control Yuan and the Examination Yuan during the first two weeks of the three-week extra session, leaving the legislature with only one week to deal with the three controversial bills,” Wei said. “How is that possible?”

Lee Chun-ta (李俊達), one of the leaders of the Sunflower movement and the convener of the student activist group Democracy Tautin, said the government and the legislature should not overlook the groups’ determination.

“We will keep an eye on the legislature, and watch it from different angles,” Lee said. “We do not rule out taking over the legislature again if that is necessary.”

Lu Hung-chih (呂鴻志), a member of the Democracy Kuroshio, said the extra session was completely unnecessary.

“Extra sessions are supposed to deal with critical legislation. I don’t see how critical these three controversial bills are,” he said.

“The president doesn’t care about the voice of the people — he just does what he wants to because the KMT dominates the legislature,” Lu said.

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