Wed, Apr 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT decries barricading of legislature

‘OLIVE BRANCH‘:KMT official Hung Meng-kai said that the government should explain why it is determined to push through pension reform before the end of summer

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers hang vegetables on a barbed-wire barrier outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to demonstrate how sharp the barbs are.

Photo: CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday criticized the use of barbed-wire barricades outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei as protests against pension reform began, prompting security measures.

KMT caucus whip Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) told a news conference outside the Legislative Yuan that the nation claims to embrace democracy, liberty and the rule of law, but the barricades symbolically locked lawmakers in, while keeping the public out of the debate.

An all-night protest against pension reform began yesterday, while legislative review of proposals are to be held today and tomorrow.

KMT Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) claims to be willing to communicate, but talks are reserved for “insiders,” while the government is erecting barricades to keep the public out.

KMT lawmakers marched around the Legislative Yuan building, calling for Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) to apologize.

KMT caucus secretary-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) said that the “people’s legislature” had become “like a prison” and that the barricades made it the most shameful day in Taiwan’s democratic history.

Wang called on Tsai to apologize for hurting democracy.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) told a separate news conference in Taipei that erecting barricades around the legislature was “blocking the people’s will from the Legislative Yuan” and showed that the administration no longer has the public’s interests in mind.

Hung called on the administration to heed the KMT’s request and explain why it is determined to push through pension reform before the end of summer.

The KMT legislative caucus has proposed to have the president give a special report to the legislature, Hung said.

This is an olive branch from the KMT, and Tsai should accept it if she has the public’s best interests at heart, Hung said.

Meanwhile, the KMT caucus will not propose a pension reform plan, despite saying that it would.

The reversal was criticized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus, which said the withdrawal of draft KMT bills and the party’s plan to protest against drafts submitted by other parties was designed to block reform of the nation’s collapsing pension system.

At cross-caucus negotiations on April 7, all parties agreed to submit proposals by today for legislative review, DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said.

Lee asked whether KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) ordered the party to withdraw its proposal to curry favor with opponents of pension reform.

“We can reasonably believe that Hung was behind the withdrawal so the KMT could stand with [leading reform opponents] Harry Lee (李來希) and Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) in opposing reform,” Lee Chun-yi said.

The KMT, which is expected to disrupt proceedings today, has no grounds to do so without proposing a solution to pension reform issues, Lee Chun-yi said.

“Where does the KMT stand if it wants to disrupt the review?” Lee Chun-yi asked. “It does not have a proposal. What is it protesting?”

Additional reporting by Chen Wei-han and Shih Hsiao-kuang

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