Mon, Jun 08, 2015 - Page 3 News List

TSU vows to block military holiday push

POLITICAL PANDERING:Making Armed Forces Day a public holiday might be seen as trying to garner support before next year’s election, the DPP caucus whip said

By Tseng Wei-chen and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer.

A draft act to designate Armed Forces Day — commemorated on Sept. 3 — as a public holiday has been described by the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) as an attempt to match a similar Chinese policy, with the caucus vowing to block the draft.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) submitted the draft, saying that he proposed renaming Armed Forces Day to “Memorial Day for the war dead and Armed Forces” and making it a public holiday — with work and classes canceled — to commemorate soldiers who died in battle.

The Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee last week passed a preliminary review of the draft, but dropped the name change, which KMT Legislator Chan Kai-chen (詹凱臣) described as “lengthy.”

To mark the signing of Japan’s surrender that ended World War II on Sept. 2, 1945, the then-KMT government announced a three-day holiday starting on Sept. 3, TSU Legislator Lai Cheng-chang (賴振昌) said.

The event was officially known as Victory Over Japan Day from 1946 until it was renamed Armed Forces Day in 1955, Lai added.

Lai questioned the motive of the draft, saying that the Chinese State Council last month announced a three-day public holiday to commemorate its Army Day — also on Sept. 3 — that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Lai said Taiwanese lawmakers are proposing a similar policy in order to pander to China.

“The TSU will pull the draft act out of inter-party negotiations if it is put on the legislative agenda,” Lai said.

Saying that not every holiday requires work and classes to be canceled, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Tsai Chi-tsang (蔡其昌) raised concerns about the draft, saying that the nation must follow a holistic and systematic policy on public holidays.

Tsai said that canceling work and classes on Armed Forces Day might be construed as politically motivated to garner support from a particular group of voters for next year’s presidential and legislative elections.

The business sector also questioned the need to designate a military holiday as a public holiday, which would add to the already “too many” public holidays in the nation, KMT deputy caucus whip Liao Kuo-tung (廖國棟) said.

The KMT caucus has yet to discuss the draft, Liao said.

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