Thu, May 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers bicker over land acts

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff Reporter

A proposed land act to ensure sustainable development remained stalled yesterday as members of the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee bickered over the passage of two separate draft land acts.

The two bills are the proposed national land planning act (國土計畫法), which would seek to reorganize the system for planning and designating use of national land, and the national land restoration act (國土復育條例), which would limit developments in ecologically fragile areas.

However, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) told the legislative committee that the articles on guarantees of rights and compensation found in the draft national land restoration act had already been incorporated into the draft national land planning act per the instruction of the Executive Yuan in 2009.

As such, there is no longer a draft national land restoration act that needs to be discussed by the committee, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) said she would not review any land act unless the ministry revives the draft national land restoration act.

RESCUE

“Our land is in need of emergency rescue, therefore we need to pass both acts at the same time ... Supplementary measures must be implemented to ensure the rights of Aborigines,” said DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), who has also proposed one of the two versions of the national land restoration act in the committee.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉), who represents Aboriginal constituencies, said he opposed the national land restoration act because its designation of “no development zones” generally applied to altitudes of 1,500m or above, as well as reservoirs in nearby areas, both of which are often Aboriginal land.

Independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅), who also represents an Aboriginal constituency, said that while she did not oppose the national land restoration act, she feared the current version would deprive Aborigines of their rights and that it would run counter to the Indigenous Peoples Basic Act (原住民族基本法).

Because of a difference of opinion on which act should be adopted, KMT Legislator and committee chairman Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) called for roundtable negotiations.

In the end, despite the fact that technically there is no longer a land restoration act from the Executive Yuan, the committee decided that it would deliberate both draft acts first and then conduct an article-by-article review on the second day.

Jiang said the ministry would seek to incorporate the lawmakers’ suggestions into the draft act for submission to the Executive Yuan within a month.

SKEPTICISM

Legislators expressed skepticism that the national land restoration act would be passed in the current or next legislative session, with the presidential and legislative elections approaching, and a budget review scheduled in the next session.

Nevertheless, they called on Jiang to ask the Executive Yuan to send the draft act to the legislature before the next session begins.

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