The passage of various bills crucial to people’s livelihoods has been halted due to the protesting students’ occupation of the Legislative Yuan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators said yesterday.
Five KMT legislators, including two who have been branded by the protesters as “bandits,” held a press conference calling on the students occupying the legislature since March 18 in protest against the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement to “respect the rule of law in a democracy” and leave the compound.
“The public’s rights cannot wait” and it is the Democratic Progressive Party which has been blocking the establishment of the cross-strait agreements oversight act, since “they have turned down in the inter-party negotiations both suggestions of handing 10 versions of the draft of the bill to the committee and changing the venue for the floor meeting,” KMT caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.
He said that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has responded to the students’ demands and has agreed to hold, “with revisions, a national affairs conference on economics and trade, as economics matters the most to us.”
Before listing the bills awaiting passage, Alicia Wang (王育敏), a member of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, slammed the parents who brought their children into the occupied building on Women and Children’s Day on Friday to show support for the students.
“These students broke the law and occupied the legislature. Affirming their action is misleading to children,” she said.
“The amendment of Article 32 of the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例) that increases the maternal benefits from equivalent to a month of insurance salary to two months was stalled due to the illegal occupation,” Wang said.
Amendments to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (家庭暴力防治法) and the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to make it legally binding were also on the floor meeting’s schedule, and that could have been passed to the benefit of the people, said Wang.
KMT Legislator Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞) referred to other bills such as those related to urban renewal, free economic pilot zones, food administration, military service and the sound finance program, saying that the students having “vague ties with the DPP” should stop using their “minority to carry out a so-called ‘people’s conference.’”
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) added that the approval of the budget for flood prevention, “amounting to NT$60 billion [US$2 billion] over six years, mainly for the southern counties and cities governed by DPP, was also hindered.”
Calling the opposition party “irresponsible” and the students “children who needed to be taught and reined in,” Wu urged university presidents and professors to “not let children become spoiled.”
In response to criticisms that the students’ occupation of the Legislature has delayed legislation on many bills, Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), one of the student leaders, yesterday said that withdrawing from the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber now will not resolve the problem, while calling for Ma to meet their demands.
Additional reporting by CNA