Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Premier urged to explain legislation delay

REFERENDUM ACT:Decreasing the voter turnout threshold was a priority until Penghu held a referendum in September that was exempted from the requirements, critics said

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) should issue a clear explanation for any delay in passing amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法), New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said, while renewing calls for a committee-centric review of legislation.

“The amendments have already received substantive committee review and could be quickly passed by arranging for their second and third readings, but now he is saying this is not a priority — there needs to be an explanation for his change in attitude,” Huang said during an interview on SuperFM 98.5 on Friday.

He said any delay would raise questions over whether the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was responding to Chinese pressure, calling for a final vote to be held on revisions by the end of the current legislative session.

While revisions to reduce the high turnout threshold and other restrictions on referendums were one of the “priority bills” announced by the DPP legislative caucus’ internal administration working group in September, rumors have since surfaced that the amendments have been shelved following a controversial local referendum to legalize casino gambling in Penghu, which was opposed by the DPP leadership.

Immediately prior to the referendum, DPP Penghu County Commissioner Chen Kuang-fu (陳光復) called for the amendment or abolition of related legal provisions in the Offshore Islands Development Act (離島建設條例), which exempted Penghu’s referendum from the Referendum Act’s turnout threshold requirements.

Lin in recent weeks has given evasive answers over whether changes to the Referendum Act is still a “priority,” adding that his administration has yet to discuss the matter with the DPP legislative caucus and hopes to arrive at a consensus.

Meanwhile, Huang also renewed calls for a committee review of controversial amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which were dismissed without a committee review last month.

“Today you are turning in a different policy direction and at the very minimum, you should give a clear explanation through formal procedural mechanisms,” he said, adding that many DPP legislators opposed holiday cuts under the previous Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration.

“You will win as soon as you raise your hand to vote, so why is it cannot you allow everyone to have a full discussion and complete a thorough review?” he said.

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