After months of controversy, the legislature yesterday confirmed all four nominees for the National Communication Commission, the independent communications and information industry watchdog.
Among the four, Integral Investment Holdings Group general manager Chen Yuan-ling (陳元玲) barely passed the confirmation vote, with 58 “yes” votes, 50 “no” votes and four invalid votes.
During previous reviews by lawmakers, Chen has been the focus of criticism, amid controversy over allegations that she fabricated her media experience in documents submitted to the legislature and the fact that the holding group, which her husband heads, has a huge stake in China.
According to the Act Governing Exercise of Rights of the Legislative Yuan (立法院職權行使法), the nominees must get “yes” votes from more than half of lawmakers who cast their ballots in the secret vote.
Independent Legislator May Chin (高金素梅) was the only one absent from the vote in the 113-seat legislature, in which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) holds 64 seats, the Democratic Progressive Party 40, the Taiwan Solidarity Union three, the People First Party three and independent lawmakers three.
Under the presumption that lawmakers voted along party lines as they were told to, National Dong Hwa University professor Howard Shyr (石世豪) presumably received a “yes” vote from the opposition camp.
Shih, who was named to concurrently serve as chairman of the seven-seat commission, received 65 “yes” votes, 45 “no” votes and two invalid votes.
National Chiao Tung University professor Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成), who was questioned over holding dual Republic of China-US citizenship, was confirmed by 64 “yes” votes against 48 “no” votes.
National Tsing Hua University professor Peng Shin-yi (彭心儀) received 64 “yes” votes, 47 “no” votes and one invalid vote. Opposition lawmakers have alleged that Peng violated academic ethics by plagiarizing work, as well as submitting the same report to multiple institutions and asking for funding.
Before the vote, KMT lawmakers were called at a caucus meeting, where KMT Secretary-General Lin Join-sane (林中森) urged lawmakers to vote in support of the four nominees because “party discipline is in place.”
Independent Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) and Chen Shue-sheng (陳雪生) were presumably allies of the KMT.
Given that, presumably some KMT lawmakers did not vote as they were told because none of the four nominees received 66 “yes” votes.
After the vote, DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said political interference by senior officials was evident during the confirmation hearing.
Not only did DPP lawmakers question the qualifications of the four candidates, but several KMT legislators did as well, Lin said.
“All the candidates have character flaws, while two of the four possess US citizenship. One of them came from a background of Chinese investment, while another was accused of plagiarism in her dissertation,” Lin added.
The KMT resorted to “tyranny of the majority” to help the inappropriate candidates pass the confirmation hearing, Lin said, adding that the DPP would monitor the performance of these NCC members and demand they resolve the dual-nationality issue.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang