Thu, Jul 10, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Watchdog takes absentee lawmakers to task

By Loa Iok-Sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of Citizen Congress Watch stage a protest outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday while publicizing the attendance records of lawmakers and criticizing the legislature for stalling on sunshine bills.

PHOTO: CNA

The Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) criticized the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday for failing to fulfill its promise of legislative reform, citing the high number of KMT absences at the legislature and the stalled sunshine bills.

Statistics released by the CCW at a press conference held outside the Legislative Yuan showed KMT Legislator Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) topping the list with 18 absences during the legislative session from February to May. KMT legislators Liu Chuan-chung (劉銓忠) and Tsao Erh-chung (曹爾忠) ranked second with 16 absences each and Lii Ming-shing (李明星) placed third with 15 absences.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-yu (陳啟昱) and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Chin-piao (顏清標) also ranked second.

“Since the legislative session began, the legislature’s efficiency has been really disappointing,” CCW chairman Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華) said.

“The KMT leadership, including [President] Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九], [KMT chairman] Wu Poh-hsiung [吳伯雄] and [Legislative Speaker] Wang Jin-pyng [王金平] repeatedly told the public that the KMT, with the majority in the legislature and the governing party, will make legislative efficiency and self-discipline its priority” Ku said.

“They also said they would push for legislative reform and pass the sunshine bills — but what do we see now?” Ku said.

Ku urged lawmakers to strive to “achieve perfect attendance records and work harder to have the sunshine bills passed.”

Approached for comment, Chang said a legislator’s performance should not be judged solely on his or her record of attendance.

“I was helping to take care of the fertilizer [shortage] problem and flooding because of heavy rains in Yunlin County,” she said. “Although I wasn’t at legislative meetings, I was helping the farmers in my constituency.”

Liu said he was busy attending the funeral of farmers who died because of the heat, while Tsao said he was unable to return to Taipei from his constituency in Matsu because of heavy fog.

Liu said that he was out of the country on official business.

Chen said he was busy running for local chapter chairman, but promised that he would spend more time at the legislature as the local party chief election was over.

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