Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday disagreed over the handling of political party assets as the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee reviewed a proposed bill on political parties.
Although proposals were made for a law governing political parties almost a decade ago, such measures never succeeded because the DPP and the KMT have not been able to reach an agreement on certain issues — such as the handling of the KMT’s extensive assets.
“The Cabinet version of the proposal makes no mention of how the stolen assets of the KMT should be handled,” DPP whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said during the meeting. “Without taking care of the problem first, there will be no social justice.”
“A law on political parties without dealing with the asset issue would be equivalent to a law that legalizes the KMT’s illegitimate assets,” Ker said.
Ker added that it was inappropriate for a political party to run businesses, as the KMT does.
The KMT has yet to make public the extent of the assets it possesses. However, last year the party said it had earned NT$2.8 billion (US$95 million) in stock dividends alone.
The issue of the KMT’s assests has long been controversial, since it has not only made investments in various businesses, but took over properties left by the Japanese colonial government — which should have gone to the Republic of China government — when Japan surrendered in 1945.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) disagreed with Ker.
“We’re trying to pass a law on political parties, not a law to persecute political parties,” Wu said. “It’s the court that should decide whether KMT assets are legal or illegal, it’s not a decision that should be made by the legislature.”
During the eight years when the DPP was in power, “the government filed lawsuits against the KMT, and the KMT gave up properties that were announced illegal by the court,” he said.
Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) supported Wu’s stance.
However, People First Party Legislator Lin Cheng-er (林正二) said he was concerned about the survival of smaller parties and asked for the threshold for parties to receive a subsidy for each vote they get to be lowered from 5 percent of votes in the election down to 1 percent.
“We cannot have the DPP and the KMT monopolizing the political arena,” Lin said.
Lee agreed, saying it is “unhealthy” for a democracy to have only two giant parties.
The committee is yet to make the final conclusion on the proposed bill.