TRADE PACT SIEGE: Committees to reconvene this week

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - Page 3

All legislative committees will reconvene meetings from tomorrow, even if student-led protesters in opposition to a trade pact with China are still occupying the legislature, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said.

Lin, who also heads the KMT’s Policy Committee, said the KMT legislative caucus’ position was now changed from a refusal to return to the legislature unless it had been cleared of the protesters.

Lin said the caucus changed its mind because of public concern about the passage of other major bills, separate to the controversial service trade agreement that was signed in June last year.

“The legislative committees must reconvene next week,” Lin said, adding that major bills will be put on the agenda, but controversial bills will be left out.

If the student protesters are still occupying the legislature’s main chamber tomorrow, the KMT will urge them to be rational, Lin said.

Lin added that Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Hsi-shan (林錫山) would make the necessary arrangements to ensure the safety of legislators.

The KMT lawmaker also noted that the Internal Administration Committee’s agenda for Wednesday and Thursday would be cleared to allow lawmakers across party lines an opportunity to reach a consensus on how to deal with the service trade agreement.

Should a consensus be reached, the legislator said he hoped the pact could then be reviewed and voted on item-by-item.

KMT lawmakers are to serve tomorrow as conveners of five committee hearings, in which agendas have already been set.

Meanwhile, KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) called for the early exit of the students.

She said she and her colleagues have heard the students’ concerns, but said that other legislation should not be held up for one bill.

“We hope to return to committee meetings smoothly, and we hope students can also respect the rights of legislators convening those meetings,” she said.