A cross-caucus negotiation yesterday ended in stalemate after lawmakers failed to agree on how to deal with 10,421 motions filed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus to freeze and slash budgets for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program.
“The infrastructure program is a special budgetary item. Every cent of its budget comes from government debt,” KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said. “The KMT caucus tabled this many motions in the hopes that the money will be well spent.”
The KMT caucus wants to cut NT$33 billion (US$1.09 billion) for controversial items, such as rail construction projects, and projects that are at odds with the purpose of the program, he said.
The caucus is against the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) plan to bundle the budget motions to put them to vote, he said.
The DPP caucus, in a bid to save time, has tabled 100 motions regarding the program, half of which directly address the agencies that will undertake the projects in the program, which could cause the more specific language that opposition parties have submitted in their motions to be overlooked, he said.
“If this can be allowed, committee reviews can also be skipped when reviewing future general budgets,” he said.
“We will just categorize the motions by their governing agencies and put them to a vote during a plenary session. We might as well close the legislature down,” he said.
Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) voiced concerns about the KMT caucus’ motions, saying there would not be enough time to discuss all of them.
Since the KMT caucus was still submitting motions yesterday morning, the Legislative Yuan’s printing factory was not able to compile them all and print them in time for yesterday’s meeting, Su said.
The usual practice for reviewing general and special budgets is for lawmakers to just review the “sections” in motions, without addressing smaller units such as subsections and items, he said.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) agreed.
However, KMT lawmakers refused to budge, with Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) saying that it is within lawmakers’ purview to address items listed under motions when reviewing budgets, if necessary.
“We have made our decision. All 10,421 motions must be printed out without a word missing. Every motion must discussed with every word read,” Lin said.
Su later ordered that 25 books containing all the motions filed by the KMT, along with those filed by the People First Party and the New Power Party, to be printed before this morning’s negotiation session, while Ker and Lin continued to bicker over how to deal with the motions.
“The legislature’s operations should not become a joke to the public. I do not believe this is what KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) wants,” Ker told reporters after the meeting.
The KMT should engage in rational discussions rather than “pulling a prank” to paralyze the legislative procedure, he said.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority