A bitter row has erupted over the administrative independence of Control Yuan members after the head of the government branch reportedly told one member to tone down his act.
Control Yuan member Huang Huang-hsiung (黃煌雄) was singled out by senior officials during a recent meeting because of his far-reaching probe into the health insurance system, the Chinese--language United Daily News reported yesterday.
Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien (王建煊) reportedly said during the meeting that members should not “tire out” government officials and that a problem can normally be identified within asking three questions.
Those remarks unleashed a storm of controversy over the role and independence of the Control Yuan, which investigates and acts on complaints issued against the government.
Huang was quoted by local media as saying that his interviews, which included 102 meetings with top health officials and transcripts from more than 3,000 doctors, were justified given the importance and severity of the investigation.
The final report included 410,000 characters, had recommendations for health officials and was lauded by the Department of Health, Huang said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday spoke out in favor of Huang’s efforts, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers appeared to agree with Wang’s call for moderation.
“[Wang] should not be interfering with the independence of Control Yuan members as they go about doing their legally appointed duties,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.
Wang’s comments were a violation of the Constitution and posed serious challenges for the impartiality of the institution that administratively is on par with the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan, Gao said.
“If their attitude is that the members who actually do work should be [deterred], then the Control Yuan might just as well close up,” DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.
KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) countered that Huang’s health insurance report was a special case and the number of interviews he conducted with senior government officials was “unprecedented.”
“I respect the right of Control Yuan members to do their job, but they should not be unrestricted,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to have them deploy hundreds and thousands of [hours of] human resources to do their job.”
Responding to the controversy, Control Yuan Secretary-General Chen Feng-yi (陳豐義) said that members should try and keep the “difficulties” they pose to senior government officials to a minimum.
However, he denied the Control Yuan would interfere with the impartiality of members and their investigative reports.
“The Control Yuan president supports the independence of reports 100 percent,” Chen said.