Wed, Mar 07, 2012 - Page 3 News List

US BEEF CONTROVERSY: TSU lawmakers cause legislature to grind to a halt

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

The legislature was idle for the entire day yesterday as the three Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers boycotted a question-and-answer session because of their discontent over the government’s decision to conditionally allow imports of US beef.

TSU lawmakers Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信), Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) and Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) occupied the podium on the legislative floor and demanded discussion of their motion to speed up deliberations on amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法).

The amendments were referred by a plenary session on Friday to the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee for review, while the TSU asked for a reconsideration to skip the preliminary procedures to counter the pace of the government lifting the import ban.

Hsu accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of “arbitrarily making the decision,” “[holding] the legislature and lawmakers in contempt” and “[showing] a callous disregard for public health.”

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) refused to deal with the motion, citing the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Yuan (立法院議事規則), which stipulates that motions must be proposed on the first day of the two-day session, which was on Friday. Wang blasted the TSU lawmakers for their “unfamiliarity” with procedural rules and said they were just “making a show in front of the media.”

Cabinet officials left the session with the permission of Wang after 11am and did not show up in the afternoon. The session was dismissed at 5:30pm.

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