Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Parties hit deadlock over provisional legislative session agenda

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Cross-caucus negotiations over items to be reviewed during an upcoming provisional legislative session ended in a stalemate yesterday due to a lack of consensus, with Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) announcing that the agenda for the session would be decided on Monday before the start of the session.

Prior to the negotiations, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that the most urgent item that needs to be addressed is the Cabinet’s proposed amendments to the Act of Military Service for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例), as they would directly affect the soundness of the nation’s pension system.

A poll showed that the majority of DPP caucus members believe that the Cabinet’s version of the pension reform bill is the most favorable to active and retired military personnel, Ker said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus should approach the review of the pension reform bill rationally, he said.

Aside from bills, items to be reviewed include more than 500 central government agencies’ proposals to unfreeze their budgets, which must be addressed before the end of the session, because if they are postponed, it could seriously affect the government’s operations, Ker said.

KMT caucus deputy secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that the KMT caucus would like to urge the DPP to be rational about military pension reform.

He criticized the DPP caucus for voting to set several key draft articles aside for further discussion during the previous legislative session, thus allowing them to clear committee review.

In addition, the Ministry of National Defense has not submitted an actuarial report on how much money the proposed pension reform for military personnel could save the nation, Tseng said, adding that the DPP is approaching the the matter as if it were a “joke.”

The KMT caucus would fully support bills pertaining to the public interest, such as proposed amendments to the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣汙染防制法), the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例) and the Company Act (公司法) on the condition that their content is reasonable, he said.

The KMT caucus would like to ask President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to give an oral report during the provisional session on the nation’s diplomatic situation and how she plans to improve cross-strait relations to avoid Taiwan being further sidelined by China on the international arena, Tseng said, referring to the nation’s loss of two diplomatic allies — the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso — last month.

New Power Party (NPP) caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that while his caucus can identify with the DPP’s vision for amending the Air Pollution Control Act and the Mining Act, draft amendments proposed by the DPP must be more convincing so that the public does not gain the impression that it only intends to “take reforms halfway.”

The NPP caucus supports the private foundation bill, but Hsu said that the Private School Act (私立學校法) and the Medical Care Act (醫療法), which concern private foundations, should be amended in tandem to improve the supervision of private foundations.

The NPP caucus during committee review proposed its version of the military pension reform bill, which sought to bar veterans who work for China from receiving pensions, but the bill was struck down by the KMT and DPP, Hsu said.

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