Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Fury over officials' absence from legislative meeting

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the legislature's National Defense Committee were furious when several military officials failed to attend a meeting yesterday at which committee members intended to complain about the Presidential Office's decision to award the president's chief bodyguards.

The decision to commend Chen and Shen for their services as guards to the president has drawn wide criticism.

Opposition lawmakers have said that they should be held responsible for the assassination attempt on the president and vice president, rather than being awarded commendations.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) suggested yesterday that new laws be introduced to compel government officials to attend legislative meetings.

Of the military officials invited by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liang Mu-yang (梁牧養), who was also the chairman of yesterday's meeting, only the Ministry of National Defense's Telecom Development Department Director Lee Hsiang-chou (李翔宙) attended. Military police Commander Shen Shih-chi (沈世籍) and Military Intelligence Bureau Director-General Yu Lien-fa (余連發) showed up after receiving phone calls from Liang.

"This is outrageous," Liang said. "The meeting was scheduled to begin at 9am. These people did not ask to be excused until 8:55am."

Liang asked Wang to punish the military officials who did not attend, saying they did it on purpose.

Wang said that he would suggest a new law for government officials.

"We need something written in black and white. Maybe we should indict them when necessary," Wang said.

He later told reporters that government officials are obliged to attend regular legislative meetings to answer questions from lawmakers. He said that if government officials refuse to attend these meetings on purpose, it will become very difficult for lawmakers to carry out their duty.

"I think it is about time that we lawmakers draft a law to keep them [government officials] on the right track," Wang said.

The other officials who had been invited to yesterday's meeting were National Security Bureau Director-General Hsueh Shih-ming (薛石民), Bureau of Investigation Director-General Yeh Sheng-mao (葉盛茂), National Police Administration Director-General Shieh Ing-dan (謝銀黨) and Coast Guard Administration Director-General Hsu Huei-yu (許惠祐).

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