Thu, Jun 23, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Academics rate legislature ‘under par’

SELF-INTEREST:Shih Shin-min, president of the Citizen Watch Alliance, accused the KMT caucus of placing the interests of the party ahead of those of the public

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Academics yesterday said the performance of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-dominated legislature in the just-concluded session was “under par” after it pushed through bills that the government can take credit for, while other bills of significant concern to people’s livelihoods remain stalled.

As the party that controls three-quarters of the seats in the legislature, the KMT caucus “deserves condemnation” for failing to pass bills that would benefit people, impeding their passage for its own sake, Taiwan Brain Trust chairman Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said.

The think tank yesterday called a press conference to announce its evaluation of the legislative session that went into recess on Tuesday last week, with 93 pieces of legislations, 24 budget bills and 12 other bills passed and a confirmation vote on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) nominees for grand justices.

“In terms of quantity, it seemed that the performance was fine, but there is so much to criticize when quality is taken into account,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.

Gao said the KMT supported certain bills in response to public complaints, for example the Financial Consumer Protection Act (金融消費者保護法) which established a mechanism to settle disputes between clients and financial institutions and the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法), which levies stiffer penalties on suppliers of foodstuffs that threaten public health.

Pushing through bills like these was a “deceptive trick” used by the KMT to cover up its poor governance and to alleviate public complaints over the issues, Gao said.

Lin Long-sheng (林雍昇), a researcher at the think tank, agreed with Gao, saying that the KMT administration had passed bills for its own political benefit.

To build up a reputation as a supporter of reform of the judiciary and clean government, the government has touted its achievements in enacting the Judges’ Act (法官法), the Organic Statute for Anti-Corruption Administration (廉政署組織條例) and amending the Anti-Corruption Act (貪汙治罪條例), but it would rather not examine whether the regulations would achieve their objectives, Lin said.

Lin was also concerned about the delay in enacting an administrative zoning act (行政區劃法) and in revising the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法), as well as Public Debt Act (公共債務法), a trio of acts that should have been implemented following the upgrade and mergers of counties and cities into five new municipalities.

“Blocking the passage of the laws makes it difficult for the DPP to govern the municipalities efficiently, which would in turn benefits the KMT in next year’s presidential and legislative elections,” Lin said.

Shih Shin-min (施信民), president of the Citizen Watch Alliance, lashed out at the KMT and accused it of placing the interests of the party ahead of those of the public.

The legislature should have learned from the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan and revised the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act (核子損害賠償法) to lift the ceiling on compensation liabilities imposed on Taipower and amended the Nuclear Emergency Response Act (核子事故緊急應變法) to expand the evacuation zones in the case of a nuclear accident from 5km to 20km, Shih said.

The legislature disregarded the importance of these acts and instead approved an extra NT$14 billion (US$486 million) in funding for continued construction work at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the safety of which is a great concern, he said.

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