Fri, May 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT casts doubt on DPP reforms

MAJORITY RULES:Increasing the number of committees, while cutting the number of conveners would allow the DPP to dominate legislative proceedings, the KMT said

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday said that motions tendered by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus calling for legislative reforms were “dubious” and likely aimed at consolidating the DPP’s control of the Legislative Yuan.

DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康), a coconvener of the Judiciary and Organic Laws Committee, held a committee review of “bills related to legislative reforms,” which included his motions to change the number of legislative committees from eight back to 12 with only one instead of two conveners per committee.

KMT Legislator John Wu (吳志揚) told a news conference in Taipei that Tuan was trying to “sneak in” his two motions by bundling them with 73 other proposals that were reviewed yesterday and then attempting to put a DPP motion to skip a reading of the proposals to a vote.

The motion to expedite the review was ultimately vetoed by KMT members of the committee.

Calling Tuan’s proposals “ill-intentioned,” Wu said that if passed, they would give the right to nominate committee conveners to the DPP caucus, which holds the legislative majority, making it the sole party capable of scheduling reviews of bills.

The DPP caucus would be able to refrain from scheduling any reviews of bills, helping officials to duck question-and-answer sessions and the DPP administration to avoid scrutiny when budgets and bills are reviewed, Wu said.

As there are 113 legislative seats, increasing the number of committees to 12 would reduce the number of legislators on each committee to nine or 10, meaning that the quorum for a committee meeting to proceed could be lowered for caucus meetings, which would degrade the quality of the nation’s lawmaking, he said.

If the DPP is serious about pushing legislative reforms, it should start by asking Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), a DPP member, to respect legislative rules and not cite obscure “precedents” that only occurred once in the history of the legislature when pushing through the DPP’s policies, KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said.

Lee was referring to Su dismissing more than 10,000 KMT motions during a budget review for the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program last year after he put to a vote a DPP motion to shelve the KMT motions.

The KMT caucus demanded that the DPP caucus not force through any changes to legislative rules with a majority vote and that any changes should only be implemented after gaining the consent of all legislative caucuses during negotiations, Lee said.

Tuan said that increasing the number of committees would improve coordination when lawmakers supervise officials in charge of certain bills and that rather than weakening lawmakers’ scrutiny of the government, it would actually enhance it.

There would be no change to the quorum for a committee meeting to proceed, which has been and would always be three, Tuan said, adding that this was the requirement before the number of legislative seats and committees were cut from 225 to 113 and from 12 to eight respectively in 2008.

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