Tue, Sep 23, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Indigenous peoples council attacked for lack of proposals

By Loa Iok-Sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Aboriginal legislators slammed the Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) during the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee meeting yesterday over a delay in proposing Aboriginal bills.

Their attack came as council Deputy Minister Wang Shun-fa (王順發) reported on the council’s projects for the next fiscal year, along with officials from other government agencies, including the Ministry of the Interior and the Mainland Affairs Council.

Besides promising to provide more employment opportunities for Aborigines, the council has delayed four legislative proposals.

“We [the council] are studying all different versions of the Aboriginal autonomous region bill. We will then call meetings with academics, experts, Aboriginal leaders and representatives from the government agencies concerned to discuss the matter, and draw up a plan on proposing bills on Aboriginal autonomy,” Wang told the lawmakers.

Wang said the council was still studying a bill to protect Aborigines’ rights to their traditional knowledge, one to define Aboriginal traditional domains and an amendment to the organic statute of the CIP.

“There is no consensus at this time, we need more discussions, need further studies — I suppose that means we won’t be able to get into the actual legislative review stage for these important bills during this session,” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chien Tung-ming (簡東明) said. “Now you’re putting everything back to zero!”

Most of the bills had been submitted by the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, but had yet to complete the legislative process because of disputes over details, he said.

Wang said the delays were the result of the CIP trying to make the bills acceptable to everyone. Chien remained unconvinced.

“It’s impossible to make a bill 100 percent acceptable to everyone, but if we don’t start reviewing them and debating on them, the bills can never become law,” Chien said.

“It’s written in the Aboriginal Basic Law [原住民族基本法] that relative laws should be passed within three years,” People First Party Legislator Lin Cheng-er (林正二) said. “That deadline has passed, but where are the other laws?”

“You talk about resolving the differences, reaching consensus and bridging the gap between Aborigines and non-Aborigines [before submitting bills to the legislature] — do you think it would convince the public?” Lin said.

Wang refused to give a timetable, promising only to “accelerate the process,” but Lin and Chien asked the CIP to at least submit something during this session.

Other KMT lawmakers also complained about the government’s lack of action.

“Voters are complaining that we legislators are not doing anything, but the fact is we have no laws at the Internal Administrations Committee to review,” KMT Legislator and committee convener Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) said.

“The problem now is that the Cabinet under the leadership of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan [劉兆玄] is inactive, they talk more than they do,” Lee said.

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