Thu, Apr 27, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Forward-looking plan clears legislative committee

PASSING THE BALLThe KMT ‘drama,’ helped the DPP pass the budget without a committee review, the NPP chairman said, calling for its return for feasibility tests

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Legislators from the ruling and opposition parties yesterday clash at the legislature in Taipei as a draft bill for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program is reviewed.

Photo: CNA

The Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program was yesterday passed by the legislature’s Economics Committee amid physical altercations between lawmakers.

The bill — a NT$880 billion (US$29.19 billion) budget to support infrastructure projects across the nation — gained headway without any substantive review of its content during the meeting.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers attempted to thwart the review with a filibuster, surrounding the rostrum and delivering 10-minute speeches one by one.

While KMT lawmakers spoke, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), who presided over the meeting, asked a legislative official to recite the bill article-by-article and pushed it through.

The draft is to be sent to the legislature’s general assembly meeting for second and third readings without further negotiation.

Chiu’s move riled opposition lawmakers.

KMT Legislator Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) flipped over a table, dragged it on the floor and attempted to strike the rostrum, while KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) splashed coffee and water in a show of protest

“The KMT will not recognize the validity of the meeting as the DPP violated the legislative procedure and ignored KMT opposition,” Sufin said.

KMT Legislator Wang Hui-mei (王惠美) said given that the bill involves NT$880 billion over the next eight years and public hearings were just held, there is no hurry to pass the bill without a detailed examination.

New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said the KMT put on a drama, which help the budget to pass the committee review.

“I could not help but wonder if the KMT was intentionally ‘passing’ the ball to the DPP,” Huang said at a news conference, calling on the DPP to return the bill for committee review, as it failed to include details regarding accountability and feasibility evaluations.

“The only result of their tantrum has been to make government officials happy because they would not be forced to face how rotten their draft bill is in committee,” he said, questioning whether government officials would be obliged to be present at general assembly deliberations.

Several activists led by National Chengchi University land economics professor Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮) held a sit-in in front of DPP headquarters, holding signs calling the party an “evolved dictatorship.”

A handful of activists associated with the Economic Democracy Union and Citizens of the Earth Foundation also protested outside the Legislative Yuan prior to the beginning of review, reiterating concerns that the draft legislation lacked strong review mechanisms and included an overly vague definition of “forward looking.”

The Executive Yuan on April 4 approved the development program as part of an effort to boost the economy over the next eight years.

The budget is to be spent on railway systems, aquatic environments, “renewable” energy and digital technology development.

Railway system projects account for NT$440 billion of the total allocations, the Cabinet said.

Taiwan Institute of Economic Research’s (TIER, 台灣經濟研究院) economist Gordon Sun (孫明德) on Tuesday said that he failed to see how the program could have a positive influence on the economy this year as government-backed programs usually take a long time to implement.

Additional reporting by Abraham Gerber

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top