Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 4 News List

DPP caucus hit by controversy over ‘secret’ letter to Ma

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) sparked a controversy within the party caucus yesterday over a letter he sent to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) asking to negotiate the seats of legislative committee heads.

DPP Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) said caucus officials should seek consent from other members before issuing documents in the name of the caucus.

DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the topic should be included in cross-party negotiation sessions, adding that Chai should not have sent the letter without discussing the matter with other members of the caucus.

DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-­liang (蔡煌瑯) said he was shocked to learn of the letter, adding that the party had been opposed to any interference in legislative affairs by the president and the party’s position on the matter remained unchanged.

Chai confirmed that he sent the letter to Ma, adding that it was written on Aug. 4.

Chai said news of the letter was released by the Presidential Office to shift public focus from the government’s problematic handling of disaster relief.

Copies of the letter provided by Chai were signed by Chai and caucus whips Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) and Yeh Yi-chin (葉宜津).

The letter called on Ma, who will assume chairmanship of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the middle of October, to urge the KMT caucus to yield a number of committee convener seats to the DPP caucus to ensure that certain checks and balances remain within the legislature.

The DPP caucus said the KMT caucus dominated the past two committee head elections because it held the majority of seats.

The DPP caucus said that Huang Sue-ying was the only DPP legislator who managed to secure a seat as convener at the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee in the last election — and did so only after drawing lots against her opponent, the KMT’s Ho Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳).

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