Civic groups yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of using the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) as his “personal tool” for political persecution and jeopardizing the nation’s constitutional system. They called for the division to be abolished.
While influence peddling by politicians deserved condemnation, Ma’s open attack on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who was allegedly involved in lobbying the judiciary, is a more serious concern, the representatives of various groups said yesterday.
Lawyer Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said Taiwan should learn from the experience of South Korea, Germany and the US, which have all abolished agencies similar to the SID.
By commenting on Wang’s alleged lobbying and demanding that he be removed, Ma breached his responsibility under the Constitution, Taiwan Democracy Watch spokesperson Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told a press conference.
Ma, who is chairman of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), another KMT member, had both prioritized party politics and ignored the constitutional order with their public comments about removing Wang from the legislative speakership, Hsu said.
“Judicial lobbying is intolerable, but due process is necessary in holding lobbyists accountable,” Hsu said.
“We believe the president, premier and prosecutor-general [Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘)] have all damaged the nation’s constitutional order through excessive wiretapping and surveillance as well as by violating the separation of powers. This [situation] is not acceptable,” Hsu said.
At a separate press conference in Taipei, representatives from pro-independence groups said Ma’s insistence on removing Wang was suspicious because the president could have his eyes set on more ambitious goals.
For Ma, Wang had to go because as speaker he had failed to get the cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature, Taiwan Society president Chang Yen-hsien (張炎憲) said.
“With a new speaker, it would be easier for Ma to pass the agreements on trade in goods, culture and the top prize — a peace agreement — in the future,” Chang said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’