Wed, Oct 18, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Pan-blue legislators ignore Ma, block arms purchase

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pan-blue legislators vote to prevent the arms procurement proposal and the president's nominations for the Control Yuan being listed on the legislative agenda during yesterday's Procedure Committee meeting.


Staff Reporter

The Procedure Committee of the legislature yesterday again failed to put a number of bills onto the legislative agenda because of a boycott by opposition legislators.

Proposals concerning the arms purchase, nominees for the Control Yuan and chief prosecutor, the handling of stolen political party assets and the unfreezing of government budgets all remained on hold after yesterday's meeting.

A motion put forth by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) to block the discussion of the approval of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) Control Yuan nominees in the legislature received support from pan-blue legislators.

Lai's other motions to stall the proposals for unfreezing government budgets for this year and handling of stolen party assets were also backed by the pan-blue camp.

The KMT also motioned to block the budget to procure weapons systems from the US. People First Party (PFP) Legislator Lin Hui-kuan (林惠官) then proposed blocking the NT$6.2 billion supplemental arms budget. Although senior KMT officials had previously said their party would back the supplemental budget, KMT legislators voted in favor of blocking the bill.

"No matter what KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) says, the PFP is against the arms purchase," Lin said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Kuo-ching's (林國慶) motion to put a proposal allowing certain media organizations to broadcast the committee meeting live was dismissed by the committee chairman, PFP Legislator Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), because "similar motions have been proposed in previous meetings."

Before yesterday's meeting, DPP legislators tried to appeal to the conscience of their pan-blue counterparts following Ma's recent comments on the KMT's willingness to review the arms purchase and Control Yuan nominations.

DPP caucus whip Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) called on the committee's pan-blue legislators not to shirk their responsibility in maintaining legislative procedure when the meeting started.

Yeh said she hoped that pan-blue legislators would not prevent the arms purchase proposal from being put to a legislative review since Ma had made a promise recently.

Distributing longan from his hometown of Chiayi to other committee members as a gesture, Lin Kuo-ching urged cross-party cooperation on facilitating review of bills concerning people's livelihoods.

Earlier yesterday, the DPP caucus held a press conference urging the KMT caucus to uphold Ma's promises and stop boycotting important bills in the Procedure Committee.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) called Ma's promises "an opportunity to recreate cooperation between political parties."

"We look forward to [cooperation] and will cooperate [with the KMT if they want to work on more bills]," Lin said at the conference.

But DPP Legislator Lu Tien-lin (盧天麟) questioned Ma's leadership of the pan-blue camp after its lawmakers went on to boycott all the proposals.

The promises Ma made were positive, but the boycott by pan-blue legislators was a "slap in Ma's face," he said.

KMT policy coordination department director Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said the party would approve putting the nominations for the Control Yuan on the legislative agenda as long as the president comes up with a new list.

He added that if the Ministry of Defense withdraws the major NT$610.8 billion arms purchase proposal, the party would "consider" letting the NT$6.4 billion additional arms sale budget proposal go on the legislative agenda.

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