Tue, Sep 02, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT legislators query watchdog after ill reviews

NAMED AND SHAMED Seven KMT legislators came out worst in a review to identify poor performances, while DPP legislators fared better

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of Citizen Congress Watch yesterday present sunflowers at the legislature in Taipei to demand greater transparency in legislative sessions.

PHOTO: CNA

Several Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators yesterday questioned the impartiality of a legislative watchdog after the organization gave them the worst reviews among all legislators from the organization.

KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), who ranked bottom among members of the Home and Nations Committee in a review by Citizen Congress Watch (CCW), expressed doubts about the evaluation criteria.

“I was voted the worst [in the committee] only because I did not sign a CCW agreement [to push sunshine bills],” he said.

KMT Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠), who was considered by the CCW to have the worst performance among Transportation Committee members, accused the organization of disregarding his explanation on several occasions that his attendance record was seriously affected by the poor weather of Matsu.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), who ranked lowest among members of the Judiciary and Organic Law and Statutes Committee, said the CCW was politically biased.

“This organization is pro-green. It is trying to protect [former president] Chen [Shui-bian (陳水扁)]. Of course it dislikes me,” Chiu said when asked for comment.

Chiu later filed a defamation lawsuit against CCW chairman Ku Chung-hwa (顧忠華) and board member Chen Ming-li (陳明理), saying that they “failed to rationally and reasonably supervise [the legislature],” but criticized “elected representatives who do not share their political views.”

The CCW publicized its evaluation of legislators on Sunday after some 100 evaluators, including academics, journalists, representatives from non-governmental organizations, businesspeople and students assessed lawmakers in accordance with their attendance record, how often they spoke at legislative meetings or whether they had signed an agreement to improve legislative transparency.

Seven KMT legislators, including Tsai, Tsao, Chiu, Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁), Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) and Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) and Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Lin Ping-kun (林炳坤) were considered to have been the worst performers.

None of the 27 Democratic Progressive Party legislators was ranked lower.

KMT caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) condemned the CCW, saying KMT lawmakers who received poor reviews had performed well in terms of their bills, budget reviews and service to voters in their electoral districts.

The CCW held a press conference yesterday afternoon in response to the criticism.

While apologizing to Chiu for failing to include his endorsement of the legislative transparency agreement when tallying Chiu’s score, which meant Chiu should have ranked ninth in the Judiciary and Organic Law and Statutes Committee, CCW secretary-general Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) defended the standards adopted in making the evaluation.

Ho said review criteria came from many sources, such as official statistics on the legislature’s Web site, media reports and data provided by lawmakers.

A reviewer who wished to remain anonymous rebutted Chiu’s claim that the CCW was trying to protect the former president.

“We started collecting data for the review several months ago ... before Chen [Shui-bian] was suspected of money laundering,” he said.

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