Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) yesterday said it is unlikely the KMT could block the Cabinet’s budget proposals for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.
Lin made the remarks in response to Social Democratic Party (SDP) member Miao Po-ya’s (苗博雅) criticism that the KMT does not really intend to block the program.
In an opinion piece titled The KMT is the best friend of Lin Chuan’s (林全) Cabinet, published in the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Thursday, Miao panned the KMT caucus, saying it had put on a farcical display at the legislature that did not affect the passage of the program.
As a result, the KMT’s actions have protected the Cabinet, helping its budget requests to pass their first reading this week without any real obstruction, she said.
Miao said the KMT caucus’ boycott of the program has had less effect than the Taiwan Solidarity Union’s (TSU) 2015 protest against the M503 air route used by Chinese civilian aircraft, which pressed then-president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration to reach an agreement with Beijing to move the controversial air route 6 nautical miles (11.1km) west of the median line of theTaiwan Strait.
The then-TSU caucus had only three seats at the legislature, while the KMT caucus has 35, she said, adding that the difference between the KMT and TSU’s legislative seat numbers shows that the former is either “stupid” for not having come up with a better way to block the program, or “reprehensible” for going easy on it, allowing it to clear the legislative floor.
Miao said that when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in opposition, it allowed the premier to make presentations and attend legislative question-and-answer sessions, thereby highlighting the weaknesses of the bills.
It would then attempt to stop the bills from being voted on, she said.
However, the KMT first allowed the Special Act on the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program (前瞻基礎建設特別條例) to be passed by a vote, then let Lin Chuan avoid giving a presentation on the program, she said.
The KMT has failed to defend the public’s interest and safeguard taxpayers’ money, Miao said.
Lin Wei-chou yesterday said the KMT caucus’ main objective is to highlight that the Cabinet budget for the program is illegal and that Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) illegally pushed the program to a committee session without allowing lawmakers to question Lin Chuan over the program.
Even if the KMT caucus had allowed Lin Chuan to make a presentation on the program, it would have only amounted to a short delay to the bill’s passage, he said.
As for Miao’s criticism that the KMT caucus is less capable than the TSU caucus was, he said Ma’s proposal at that time to launch the M503 air route was “easier to block,” as it was an issue that involved a conflict of ideologies.
“I think it depends on the bill and how much the public cares about it. We [the KMT caucus] can only generate enough momentum after gaining enough public support,” he said.
No one dislikes an infrastructure program, he said, adding that “our goal is to prevent the ruling party from scoring points.”
“We might be able to block part of the budget requests, but not all of them,” he added.
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