Sat, Apr 18, 2009 - Page 3 News List

KMT blocks amendment on officials’ nationality

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party legislators shout slogans in the legislature yesterday after they failed to push through an amendment to prohibit people who hold permanent residency in another country from assuming public office.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday again failed in its attempts to push forward an amendment that would prohibit Taiwanese nationals who hold permanent residency in another country from assuming public office.

The amendment was blocked by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

At yesterday’s deliberation session on legislative amendments, the KMT voted down a motion from the DPP legislative caucus to put its draft amendment to the Nationality Act (國籍法) on the agenda.

The amendment, which passed the legislature’s Home and Nations Committee on March 9 with support from lawmakers across party lines, states that people in public office must prove they have renounced their foreign permanent residency within six months of taking office.

Public servants are currently required to give up their foreign citizenship a year after taking office.

DPP Legislator Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) called on the KMT not to delay review of the bill, saying that people would finally find out “what the KMT is hiding behind its procrastination strategy.”

Legislative regulations state that a bill on which lawmakers failed to reach consensus during the preliminary review stage can be brought to the legislative floor to proceed to a second and third reading in a vote one month after it has been passed by legislative committees.

“It was not because of the content of the amendment that [the KMT] voted against the bill. Rather, we opposed changing the agenda that had been set by the legislature’s Procedure Committee,” KMT Legislator Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said in response to Kao’s objections.

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), one of the lawmakers who had initiated the amendment, said the amended regulations, if passed, would help ease public doubts over public servants’ national allegiance.

The DPP has lashed out at President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), saying the US green card he held while studying in the US in the 1970s was still valid while he was campaigning for the presidential election.

Ma has said his green card had been invalidated automatically in the mid-1980s when he used a US visa rather than the green card to enter the US.

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