President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should appear before the public to explain issues of concern to the people instead of hiding and leaving only Facebook messages, People First Party (PFP) Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said yesterday.
The PFP caucus would invite Ma to give a “state of the union address” report to the legislature regarding issues of whether to lift the ban on imports of US beef containing the feed additive ractopamine, gas and electricity price hikes, and the case surrounding the cover-up of a bird flu outbreak, Lee told a press conference.
To sustain momentum for the initiative to invite the president to give such a speech, the PFP caucus, which holds three seats, needs support from 26 lawmakers to meet the 25 percent threshold as stipulated in the Act Governing the Legislative Yuan’s Exercise of Power (立法院職權行使法).
Lee suggested that Ma accept the proposal to stand on the front line to make policy and decision-making processes more accountable to the public.
“Do not retreat to the rear line,” the PFP lawmaker said.
However, the PFP caucus’ proposal was not supported by the other three parties in the legislature.
If the president is to deliver a state of the union address, it should not just be about certain cases, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.
Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said his caucus has no stance on the issue as it has yet to be discussed among its members.
Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said his caucus would second the motion on condition that the president takes questions from lawmakers.
Ma left a message on his Facebook page on Monday in response to mass complaints from the nation’s netizens about gasoline price increases announced on Sunday, in which he, aside from defending the price hike policy, added that plans to raise electricity rates are being discussed within his administration.
Meanwhile, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday did not confirm when asked about the possible electricity price-hike plans, which will reportedly take effect next month.
Chen said it would take at least 40 days to complete the process before new electricity prices come into effect, because the government would need to hold a meeting of the price advisory committee and promulgate the new rates one month prior to implementation.