KMT whip, legislator apologize for unrest over trade review

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Apr 01, 2014 - Page 1

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) and Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) yesterday apologized to the public over the uproar caused by Chang’s decision to call an abrupt end to a joint legislative committee review of the cross-strait service trade pact last month and to send it directly to the general assembly.

Bowing in front of reporters during a press conference at the KMT caucus office yesterday, Lin and Chang said that they regret the furor caused by Chang’s action two weeks ago, while insisting that what Chang did was completely lawful.

“Chang did what he did because he had no other choice and because he could no longer tolerate” the continuing boycott by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators, Lin said. “However, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, I regret the social unrest that Chang’s action has caused and take full responsibility for the injustice and lack of transparency in the process.”

“I had tendered my resignation as caucus leader on Friday last week to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and again tendered my resignation for a second time to the president today,” Lin said.

During the committee review for the agreement on March 17, opposition legislators tried to boycott the meeting by preventing Chang, the convener, from taking the podium. In response, Chang announced on the sidelines that the committee had completed reviewing the agreement and was sending it to the general assembly for review.

The legitimacy of his action was called into question. The next day, hundreds of students stormed the legislature and have since occupied the legislative chamber.

Lin said that Ma, who also serves as KMT chairman, has turned down his resignation both times, but that he was determined to resign.

“As convener of the Internal Administration Committee, Chang has scheduled another review for the cross-strait trade agreement on Wednesday and Thursday, following conclusion of an earlier cross-party negotiation and demands raised by student activists [occupying the legislative floor],” Lin said.

During the committee meeting yesterday morning, several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators challenged Chang and urged him to step down as convener.

“How can you be so shameless as to continue presiding over the committee meeting as if nothing ever happened?” DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said. “You should apologize for what you did and resign as committee convener.”

DPP Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智), agreed.

“It is not right for you to just show up and preside over the next meeting as if nothing happened. If we allow you do to so, we will be accomplices to what you did,” Yao said.