Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday lashed out at the Executive Yuan over what they said was its poor communication with the legislative branch in promoting major policies, brushing off the government’s latest attempt to seek unanimous support from the party caucus for government reform proposals.
The caucus moved its meeting to KMT headquarters yesterday after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) instructed the Executive Yuan and the legislative branch to strengthen communication after the KMT caucus blocked the Ministry of Finance’s version of a capital gains tax proposal on Tuesday.
The KMT caucus also strayed from the party line on Monday when a government-proposed amendment seeking to conditionally relax a ban on imports of beef containing residue of the livestock feed additive ractopamine was voted down during a preliminary review because KMT Legislator Cheng Ju-fen (鄭汝芬) was deliberately absent.
While Ma reiterated the KMT’s determination to push forward the securities tax amendment during the KMT’s Central Standing Committee meeting earlier in the day, many KMT legislators who attended the caucus meeting declined to endorse Cabinet proposals.
“The Executive Yuan needs to communicate with the legislative caucus before making major policies, otherwise we do not know what we are endorsing. The KMT legislative caucus is not the ‘legislative bureau’ of the government,” KMT Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) said as he left the closed-door meeting.
He said the meeting focused on the discussions about the lack of communication between the Executive Yuan and the caucus, with many KMT legislators blaming Minister of Finance Christina Liu (劉憶如) for not discussing the ministry’s version of the tax amendment with the caucus before finalizing the Cabinet’s version.
KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said the government should push for reforms in stages, since its recent slew of policy initiatives — from easing the ban on US beef imports, to the hike in fuel and electricity prices to the capital gains tax — have put a lot of pressures on KMT legislators, who are struggling to promote government reforms amid public outcry over the various policies.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) strongly criticized the government’s flip-flop on the electricity price hikes, urging the Ma administration to reflect upon its own policymaking process before asking party legislators to endorse government policies.
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) also attended the meeting, which lasted four hours. Afterwards, he promised to make more of an effort to communicate with legislators, but declined to comment further on the discussions.
“We’ve heard a lot of opinions from both the legislators and the public, and we will work harder to deepen communications with the legislative branch,” he said.
The caucus meeting did not address the issue of whether party members who failed to follow party orders should be punished, caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.
This story has been updated since it was first published.