Sun, Feb 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Pundits and assets panel threaten rule of law: Ma

By Shih Hsiao-kuang  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou speaks about transitional justice at a meeting of the Chinese Association for Human Rights in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said political talk show pundits and the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee threaten the nation’s rule of law.

While giving a speech entitled “Taiwan’s recent human rights issues — the protection of human rights relies on the rule of law” at the Chinese Association for Human Rights’ general assembly, Ma lashed out at pundits and the committee for harming the rule of law, despite Taiwan’s listing as the second-freest nation in Asia.

Ma said that some media pundits have long been making accusations against, and defaming, government officials in the name of freedom of speech.

They have become a special social stratum, to whom the court has been lenient, Ma said, lamenting that certain pundits have made millions of New Taiwan dollars by speaking on talk shows, but are a “negative factor” and “the killer of freedom of speech.”

The legislature’s passage of the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例) has also affected the rule of law, Ma said.

The Executive Yuan’s committee has power over the legislative, executive and judicial branches and has been taking questionable actions, including an order to freeze the capital of a particular political party, thereby impeding that party’s normal functioning, Ma said.

While the committee’s aim is for transitional justice, it violates the imperative that a nation operates under the rule of law, namely the principle of non-retroactivity, presumption of innocence, prohibition of bills of attainder and clarity of law, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, Ma added.

He also called into question the legitimacy of legislation concerning party assets, which he said was passed because the Democratic Progressive Party commands a majority in the legislature, without the input of the executive’s departments.

Insofar as Taiwan is considered by the international community a stable democracy, “is there really the need to walk on the path of transitional justice?” he said.

Tackling problems with unconstitutional procedures would not achieve transitional justice; worse, it would probably lead to democratic regression, he added.

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