Legislature agrees to hold extra session

LEFTOVERS::The KMT, DPP and PFP have listed their priorities among the bills that have yet to pass. The KMT said it would push for a July session if necessary

By Shih Hsi-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, May 25, 2013 - Page 3

With the current legislative session due to end on Friday next week, lawmakers yesterday decided that a two-week extra session will be held from June 13 to discuss several highly disputed issues.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) presided over a cross-party negotiation that agreed an informal meeting will be held on June 13 to launch the extra session, which will run through June 27.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) will be invited to present a report during the extra session on the plan to extend compulsory education from nine to 12 years and take questions from lawmakers at a question-and-answer plenary session.

The 12-year compulsory education program covering secondary and vocational schools is scheduled to start in August next year, but concerns have been raised about the changes.

The People First Party (PFP) was behind the push for Jiang to appear before the legislature to explain the program.

The policy was “paved with good intentions,” but the government has not yet come up with complementary measures to address issues of concern, PFP caucus whip Thomas Lee (李桐豪) said.

For example, rules governing admission to secondary schools should be based upon open and fair assessment and should be able to avoid discriminating against economically disadvantaged students, which would otherwise widen the gap between social classes, Lee said.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus wants to push through the proposed referendum on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮), an amendment to the yet-to-be-implemented capital gains tax on stock transactions and reforms to the nation’s pension systems.

KMT whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said the party might call for another session in July if no progress was made in the June session.

If the referendum proposal passes the legislature next month, a referendum on the question: “Do you agree that the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be halted and that it not become operational?” (你是否同意核四廠停止興建不得運轉) must be held no later than the end of this year.

The KMT-proposed amendment to the Income Tax Act (所得稅法) aims to revise the controversial capital gains tax on securities transactions, which was introduced just a year ago.

The proposal, which cleared the legislature’s Finance Committee on Monday, suggested the removal of the requirement that the TAIEX surpasses 8,500 points for the tax to be imposed on all investors and replace it with a tax that would be imposed on investors who sell NT$1 billion (US$33.3 million) in shares within one calendar year.

For next month’s session, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus will focus on bills to decommission all nuclear power plants by 2025, legislation to prevent media monopolies and amendments concerning a fair budget allocation among local governments, caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.