Wed, Jun 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NPP accuses major parties of backroom dealmaking

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party legislators at their caucus office in Taipei yesterday criticize the Democratic Progressive Party and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for scheduling a week-long break during the current extraordinary session of the legislature, among other grievances.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of attempting to control legislative agendas by making backroom deals, and called for more transparency in the legislative process.

Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) on Monday afternoon announced that no legislative sessions would be convened for a week to allow for cross-caucus negotiations, after the legislature earlier passed a DPP proposal to prioritize a controversial bill that would cut veterans’ pensions.

Asked by reporters whether they were invited to join the meeting to discuss the postponement, NPP caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that the DPP and KMT have secretly decided a great part of the legislative agenda for the extraordinary session.

At 9am, when the meeting was scheduled to begin, Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) was not there and it was unclear what was going on, he said.

“We cannot stop the two major parties from making secret deals, but they do not own the legislature. If the meeting cannot begin at 9am, they should not inform people to show up at that time. That is ridiculous,” he said.

“Have they forgotten their pledge that they made in 2016 to reform the Legislative Yuan? Do they have no sense of shame?” NPP Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said, referring to a comment by a DPP legislator that the NPP is “just jealous” and could have joined the meeting if they wanted to.

As a relatively minor party, the NPP cannot decide the legislative agenda, but the legislature could be more friendly to minority parties by always including them in meetings about the agenda, NPP Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal said.

Regarding the bill on pension reform for military personnel, the NPP believes that lower-ranking officers’ rights must be protected, while high-ranking officers’ should have more restrictions, NPP Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said.

While the Executive Yuan proposes a maximum income replacement ratio of 90 percent, the NPP believes it should be 80 percent, he said, adding that in its version, admirals would receive about double the amount that colonels receive and two-and-a-half times the amount that lieutenant colonels receive.

The NPP has also proposed lowering the preferential savings rate of 18 percent to zero within three years, which is the same rate that civil servants and public-school teachers would enjoy, he said.

When asked to comment on the NPP’s criticism of the legislature later yesterday, Su said that everything was carried out in accordance with the code of legislative procedures.

Additional reporting by CNA

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