Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Legislator criticizes Aboriginal land management plans

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) yesterday questioned the Council of Indigenous Peoples' (CIP) sincerity in giving the nation's Aborigines the power to manage resources in their own domains, citing a lack of participation by Aborigines in the matter.

Liao raised the question at a legislative public hearing on the drafting of the "regulation on joint management of resources in Aboriginal domains."

The proposed regulation is subordinate legislation required by the Aboriginal Basic Law (原住民族基本法) and aims to involve Aborigines in decision-making processes when a policy concerns resources in their traditional domains.

Liao slammed the proposed regulation yesterday.

NOT INVOLVED

"Aborigines were not even involved during the drafting process," Liao said. "Besides, according to the current proposed regulation, the Aborigines would only have a consultative role to play."

Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒), public administration professor at Tamkang University, expressed similar concerns at the public hearing.

In response, CIP officials denied that the council intended to exclude Aborigines from the decision-making process.

"When making decisions concerning natural resources in Aboriginal traditional domains the regulation requires a joint management committee to be set up, in which half of the members must be Aborigines," said Huang Chin-hsiang (黃金祥), an official from the CIP's land management section. "Therefore, Aborigines certainly have some power on such a committee."

However, Huang did admit that, under the proposed regulations, the joint management committee would not make the final decision.

RADICAL CHANGES

"This is because we're trying not to make any radical changes over too short a time," he said.

Huang said as many Aborigines are not used to dealing with bureaucratic processes, "we'll have them on the committees first and eventually we will certainly expect them to become the real final decision makers."

Huang said because many ministries still hold differing opinions on the details of the draft regulation, "negotiations still need to be held before a finalized version can be sent to the Cabinet for review."

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