Thu, May 04, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Infrastructure review blocked by KMT protest

By Lauly Li, Su Fang-ho and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Yi-ying, left, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Chen-wei shout at each other in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday over a review of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program bill.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

A second-round legislative committee review of the draft Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program was again stalled yesterday due to a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) protest.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), one of the conveners of the legislature’s Economics Committee, on Wednesday last week announced that the draft bill would be re-examined after the party was accused of forcibly approving a preliminary review without actually examining the proposal.

More than 10 DPP lawmakers surrounded the rostrum in the meeting room before 9am in an effort to prevent KMT lawmakers from occupying it.

However, soon after DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) announced the beginning of the meeting, KMT lawmakers began clanging gongs, blowing whistles and pushing their DPP colleagues to gain access to the rostrum.

KMT lawmakers held placards and, using loudspeakers, shouted “objection,” as a legislative official recited the meeting log from the previous meeting.

KMT lawmakers repeatedly demanded that the DPP withdraw the bill and that the Executive Yuan propose a new one.

KMT Legislator Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said that the party cannot accept the proposed NT$880 billion (US$29.3 billion) bill, as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had promoted it in cities and counties before it was sent to the Legislative Yuan for deliberation.

“The committee voted against the KMT’s proposal last week,” Gao said. “There is no way we will withdraw the bill.”

However, Gao had to announce a break three times, as KMT lawmakers refused to negotiate with their DPP counterparts and would not yield the rostrum to Gao.

At 3pm, Gao said the meeting would be adjourned at midnight, instead of at 5pm, in an attempt to push the bill through.

However, at about 5:30pm, he announced that the meeting was adjourned for the day and that it would resume today.

A DPP lawmaker’s assistant, who declined to be named, told the Taipei Times that the party decided to resume the meeting today as the KMT showed no sign of giving up on its tactics.

Separately, Tsai urged DPP lawmakers to accommodate the opposition, while asking the opposition to refrain from blocking reforms.

As the DPP commands a majority in the legislature, it has a responsibility to give the opposition room, DPP spokeswoman Chiu Li-li (邱莉莉) quoted the president as saying.

“While we absolutely accept the most stringent legislative reviews, we cannot accept the kind of pointless procedural obstruction that is currently practiced,” Chiu said, quoting Tsai. “Obstructing development and blocking reforms will bring only harm to the nation’s future.”

Tsai said the public has a higher standard for the DPP as the ruling party, and she urged DPP members to show patience and forbearance in the interest of bringing progress and reform, Chiu said.

Tsai called on the opposition to understand that economic development is not a partisan issue and its fruits are to be shared by all, Chiu said, adding that pension reform is another nonpartisan issue that will give all retirees a basic level of economic security.

Tsai said the DPP has been in opposition and performed its role of providing checks and balances to the government, but it had not obstructed policies that had popular support and those that could help national development, such as water resource engineering and the expansion of economic demand.

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