Bill to restructure government put off until fall session

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 3

Despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) demand that the legislature pass a government restructuring bill this session, lawmakers yesterday decided to tackle the controversial bill when they meet again in the fall.

The Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee reviewed three government restructuring bills yesterday afternoon. They include amendments to the Organic Standard Act of Central Government Agencies (中央行政機關組織基準法), the Organic Act of the Executive Yuan (行政院組織法) and a temporary measure on the adjustments of the Executive Yuan’s functions and organization.

While committee members were negotiating the controversial articles of the Organic Standard Act of Central Government Agencies, committee chairman, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池), announced that the meeting would be adjourned because a cross-party negotiation session concluded that the parties would tackle the matter when they return from the summer recess.

The legislature will go into recess next Tuesday.

On Monday, committee members only reached agreement on four of the 19 amendments to the Organic Standard Act of Central Government Agencies proposed by the Executive Yuan and Examination Yuan.

Cross-party negotiations are required to discuss controversial articles before the amendments proceed to a plenary session for approval. The committee yesterday met to discuss the contentious articles, approving two.

The amendments are part of the government’s efforts to reduce the number of Cabinet agencies from 37 to 29.

At issue yesterday was whether the revised Organic Standard Act of Central Government Agencies would apply to diplomatic agencies. While the Executive Yuan’s draft proposes excluding diplomatic agencies, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and some KMT lawmakers were against it.

After negotiations, the committee agreed to allow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ overseas representative offices to be excluded from the revised Organic Standard Act of Central Government Agencies.

Committee members also agreed on another clause defining government institutions, independent bodies and agencies.

Both KMT and DPP lawmakers were against the proposal to establish one more deputy secretary-general under the Executive Yuan and the four other government branches.

They argued that the establishment of such a position would denigrate the dignity of the legislature, as the function of the position was to “strengthen the cooperation between the executive and legislative branches.”

DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said that while it was the job of the vice premier and secretary-general to negotiate with the legislature, she wanted to know why the legislature should approve the proposal designating a deputy secretary-general to do the job.