Thu, Mar 10, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Alliance lays down reform plans

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Parliamentary Transparency Alliance, formed by a group of “middle generation” Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers, yesterday put forward its schedule and plans for legislative reforms.

Led by KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and including lawmakers Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆), Wang Hui-mei (王惠美), Ma Wen-chun (馬文君) and Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀), the alliance announced a three-stage legislative reform agenda that aims to increase the transparency of the legislature, equip the legislature with hearing and investigative powers, and propose reforms to the electoral and constitutional systems.

For legislative transparency, which has been set as the short-term goal, the alliance called for the establishment of a “parliamentary television” system, which would live stream legislative meetings and cross-party negotiations on television and the Internet.

It said that the Legislative Yuan’s Official Gazette Office should be authorized to record the meetings and negotiations, and that a place should be arranged so that the public can “sit in” on legislative committees.

The mid-term goal would be to equip the legislature with powers to carry out investigations and hold legislative hearings, the alliance said.

A New Power Party caucus proposal on legislative investigative power — which included the ability to investigate individuals — sparked controversy as some observers believed it could allow for the excessive use of investigative power, Wang said, adding that the alliance’s proposal on investigative power is not “unrestricted or reaching down to individuals.”

The alliance said that the military police’s recent search of a civilian’s residence shows that exercising investigative power over individuals or in a way that bypasses existing systems could, if the action is carried out inappropriately, easily result in the abuse of power or human rights violations, the alliance said.

“The legislature’s investigative power should also be withdrawn when the judiciary launches its independent investigation,” Wang said.

The alliance’s long-term goal is the reform of the electoral and constitutional systems.

Making changes to the current single-district, two-vote system and to the proportion of legislators-at-large, choosing between parliamentary and presidential systems, and revising the current regulations governing the terms of Control Yuan and Examination Yuan members are all part of the plan, the alliance said, adding that public hearings would be held to gather opinions.

The three proposals for opening up the parliament have so far all been motioned, the alliance said.

In related news, Chiang said that the Legislative Yuan’s official Web site is not user-friendly enough.

“I asked on my Facebook page whether [Internet users] are familiar with the app created by the Legislative Yuan. Most of those that replied said they did not know that the app was available,” Chiang said, adding that the app allows users to view legislative agenda, legislative proceedings and gazettes.

“Another scenario was that the users of the app often failed to find the information they needed since the integration [of information] is poor,” he said.

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