Fri, Apr 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT lawmakers may sue Citizen Congress Watch

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) and Chen Ken-te (陳根德) said they were considering suing Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) after the group released lawmakers’ attendance records and accused the two of being late to meetings.

“According to the Legislative Yuan’s own regulations, legislators are supposed to be in meetings from 9am to 6pm,” CCW executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) told a news conference at the group’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday. “But records show that the average general assembly meeting only lasts 5.9 hours, while committee meetings in February and March were on average 3.1 hours long.”

Aside from adjourning meetings early, delays are also a key factor behind the shorter meeting times, the group said.

“The Education and Culture Committee has the best record with only a 3.2-minute delay on average, while the Transportation Committee has the worst, with an average delay of 28 minutes,” Ho said.

The Sanitation and Environment Committee, as well as Social Welfare Committee, were the next worst offenders, with an average delay of 9.25 minutes, Ho said.

Chen and Chung, conveners of the Transportation Committee and the Sanitation and Environment Committee respectively, expressed their anger when approached by reporters for comment.

“It’s immoral to release information like this,” Chung said. “They’re just making false accusations against us without knowing how hard we work.”

Chung said he would work to put CCW on a list of “unwelcome” groups at the legislature. Chen, on the other hand, accused the group of giving out false information.

“They said that I was 114 minutes late to a [committee] meeting [that started at 9am] — it’s not true,” Chen said. “I was in a classified meeting at 9am sharp, that’s why they couldn’t find it in the records.”

Both lawmakers said they were considering filing lawsuits against CCW if the group did not apologize.

“Legislative transparency is a global trend and the doors of the legislature should be open to all people,” a CCW statement said in response later yesterday. “The threats to put CCW on the ‘unwelcome’ list … just shows that some lawmakers lack the common sense desired in a democracy.”

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