The Legislative Yuan referred Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) deputy caucus whip Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) to the legislature’s Discipline Committee yesterday as a result of a physical conflict with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) in October.
The 61 legislators present during the plenary session voted 36 to 25 in favor of the proposal initiated by the Education and Culture Committee.
The Discipline Committee, composed of 15 pan-blue lawmakers, has the power to determine punishment for Kuan after listening to her explanation, the Legislators’ Conduct Act (立法委員行為法) stipulates.
Kuan could be required to issue an oral apology or a written apology, or be prevented from attending four to eight plenary sessions, the law says.
She could have her legislative authority suspended for between three months and six months if two-thirds of the attendees in the plenary session agree to the punishment.
The Education and Culture Committee initiated the proposal after Kuan slapped Hung on the face during a review of the National Science Council’s budget request on Oct. 22.
Kuan slapped Hung after the KMT legislator injured the eye of Kuan’s assistant as she was trying to push a poster away.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had tried to resolve the conflict between Kuan and Hung, but both of the legislators refused to apologize to each other.
Kuan told her colleagues during the plenary session: “I feel honored that the KMT is going after me.”
“When one is faced with repression, one should stand straight, refuse to give in and fight against oppression and hegemony,” she said.
“Congratulations to all of you. You just made yourselves look really bad,” she said.
DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) protested the legislature’s decision, saying that the KMT-dominated legislature was trying to persecute Kuan while covering up for KMT Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安), whom the US State Department has found to possess US citizenship.
Hung, however, criticized Kuan as “showing no remorse” and “not well-educated.”
KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said Kuan had refused to make peace with Hung despite the KMT’s efforts to resolve the dispute.
He also rebutted the DPP’s allegation that the KMT was shielding Lee.
In a related development, legislators agreed unanimously to delete an internal regulation that had been preventing DPP lawmakers from proposing impromptu motions during committee meetings.
Article 57 of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Yuan (立法院議事規則) previously stated that an impromptu motion must be endorsed by more than four lawmakers.
However, the DPP, with 27 lawmakers in total, was unable to occupy more than three seats in five of the legislature’s eight committees.