A fracas broke out at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus sent a draft amendment to the Act of Military Service for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例) to committee review with a majority vote.
The Executive Yuan last week unveiled the draft amendment, which proposes setting the minimum monthly pension for retired military personnel at NT$38,990, gradually phasing out an 18 percent preferential interest rate on the savings of retired personnel enlisted before 1995 and a formula for calculating pensions for military retirees.
The DPP and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucuses yesterday each submitted a motion regarding the proposed legislation at a plenary session of the legislature, with the DPP aiming to send the bill to committee review and the KMT opposing the move.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
DPP lawmakers, who had been guarding the gates of the legislative chamber in shifts since Thursday, ensured that Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) had a clear path to the speaker’s podium, which was surrounded by KMT lawmakers.
Scuffles between the two parties’ lawmakers broke out shortly after the session began, plunging the chamber into chaos.
During the fray, KMT Legislator Andy Yang (楊鎮浯) tried to clamber onto the speaker’s podium and Su deflected him.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Upon seeing this, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) shouted: “Violent speaker!”
The phrase was picked up by all of the KMT lawmakers, who soon began shouting it at Su in unison.
DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) began cursing after several KMT lawmakers tried to tackle him, while KMT Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) needed medical attention after scuffling with DPP Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱).
Su kept his composure and continued to preside over the meeting, even as KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), using a microphone the KMT had prepared, criticized the DPP in an attempt to drown out announcements by the speaker.
Each motion tendered was voted on twice at the KMT caucus’ request.
Despite the KMT’s protests, the bill advanced to committee review after gaining the backing of the DPP caucus, which controls 66 out of the 113 legislative seats.
The KMT caucus later held a news conference condemning Su for “pushing” Yang, saying that as legislative speaker he should remain neutral.
Su has set a world record for being the “first-ever legislative speaker to use violence” on a lawmaker, Tseng said.
Speaking on behalf of Su, Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Chih-chia (林志嘉) said that Su’s actions were instinctive self-defense, as Yang apparently wanted to attack him.
It is regrettable that an opposition party would resort to such a “malicious” obstruction tactic, Lin said, adding that Su would apologize if Yang believed that it is right to climb the speaker’s podium.
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