Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday pounded on their desks in the Legislative Yuan’s main assembly chamber before Premier Lin Chun (林全) presented the Cabinet’s policy report, calling for the resignation of the premier and Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦).
On the first day of the new legislative plenary session, when Lin was scheduled to present the policy report, the KMT caucus greeted the premier and other officials with jeers and placards.
“Lin Chuan step down,” “I thump the desk because the people are discontented” and “the one fixed day off and one rest day policy made everybody lose,” the lawmakers shouted.
Yesterday marked the 270th day since Lin’s Cabinet took office.
“The KMT caucus did not obstruct Lin’s report by occupying the speaker’s podium, but drew attention to the administration’s poor performance to show that the government has been incompetent in the past 270 days,” the caucus said.
The desk-pounding was in reference to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) comment before her inauguration that the public could “thump the desk if it thinks the government failed to heed its opinions,” the caucus said.
KMT caucus convener Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) said ever since the new administration took office, controversies over “pork imports from the US; the illegitimate party assets settlement act; the new labor policy; the import of Japanese food products from prefectures affected by radiation; China Airlines flight attendants’ strike; the bankruptcy of TransAsia Airways; Taiwan Railways Administration employees going on strike; a fatal bus accident; and marriage equality and pension reforms” have caused social turmoil and stoked public discontent.
KMT lawmakers said Hochen’s remarks after Monday night’s bus accident that claimed 33 lives were disappointing and that he should shoulder the political responsibility for the “catastrophic mishap” and resign.
Lin, who took the podium after the protest, touted the government’s achievements.
Lin said the “difficulties have been overcome and change has begun,” adding that the nation needs comprehensive and structural transformational reforms, which “are inevitably accompanied by short-term pain and anxiety that have to be faced with determination and courage.”
He listed achievements the Cabinet has made over the past eight months, including the business climate monitor being “green” for six consecutive months; the rise in exports; the promotion of structural transformation of industries, such as “green” energy and the “Asian Silicon Valley” project focusing on Internet of Things and innovative start-ups; and a project to manufacture military aircraft domestically.
Other ongoing projects that Lin mentioned were the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport MRT line; the “long-term care 2.0” project; labor reforms that ensure better labor rights in terms of days off and overtime pay; and amendments to the Electricity Act (電業法) that would accelerate the development of “renewable” energy and liberalize the energy sector.
Lin also presented a report on Monday’s bus accident, and “sincerely apologized to the nation for possible lapses and inconsideration on part of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.”
The government will “improve bus installations; enhance and raise the standards of bus inspections; step up random checks; clamp down on high-risk tours and sub-standard travel agencies; and tighten labor controls to make sure that the drivers are not overworked,” Lin said.