Cabinet officials yesterday defended themselves yesterday in the face of complaints from pan-blue lawmakers that the Cabinet has ignored and disrespected them.
The lawmakers said that Cabinet officials have spent money according to their 2006 fiscal year budget plans, even though the bulk of the budget has not been approved by the legislature. The legislature froze a portion of the budget request in January.
"What they [the Cabinet officials] have done was not only illegal but also disrespectful of the legislature, since we have yet to approve their money," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said.
Wu said he may propose a boycott of the Cabinet's budget for next year while he and other lawmakers will file a request that those Cabinet officials who spent the unapproved money be punished.
Wu said the legislature froze two-thirds of the Cabinet's annual budget for the current fiscal year, approximately NT$400 million (US$12 million), on Jan. 3.
"The law allows the Cabinet to appeal this decision within 10 days. But they did not file any appeal, which indicated to us that the Cabinet would accept our decision. Since they accepted it, what they did [spending the money] was illegal," Wu said.
Cabinet Secretary-General Liu Yu-shan (
"We filed an extraordinary request to the legislature in March, asking the lawmakers to approve the [frozen] budget [items] as soon as possible. But we got no response from them," Liu said.
He said a second request was filed in June but again the Cabinet did not get a response. The Cabinet then made the decision to spend the money since the government's savings were running low.
The Cabinet has spent less than NT$200 million on the contested items so far, he said.