The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed the third reading of a bill to convert Taiwan’s 17 irrigation associations into a government body, despite strong opposition from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and some farmers.
There are 17 irrigation associations nationwide and one joint association in Taichung, a Council of Agriculture Web site showed.
When the legislature passed amendments to the Act of Irrigation Association Organization (農田水利會組織通則) in 2018 requiring the entities to be legally defined as public juridical persons, the government was already seeking “illegitimate ways” to “infringe upon assets belonging to irrigation associations,” KMT Legislator Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
The amendments also stated that the head of each association should be appointed by the government, starting in October.
The government has passed the draft in a bid to nationalize the associations’ assets, which are valued at about NT$75.6 billion (US$2.56 billion), Kung said, adding that the assets belong to the associations’ members and should not be taken by the nation.
KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said that during Japanese colonial rule, Taiwanese began to think of agricultural irrigation infrastructure as public constructions, giving rise to the irrigation associations, which have been operating on their own terms for more than 100 years.
However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) has resorted to a “tyranny of the majority” to forcibly pass the bill so that it can “seize associations’ assets under the guise of upgrading them to government bodies,” Lin said.
The KMT would not allow the DPP to take advantage of its parliamentary majority and act in such a wanton way, Lin said, adding that the KMT vows to demand a constitutional interpretation on the issue.
DPP caucus secretary-general Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said that if irrigation associations are non-governmental entities, they cannot enforce the law or crack down on people involved in illegal activity related to agricultural irrigation and drainage and their funds for irrigation and drainage come from the council.
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said that the council would establish a new irrigation and water conservancy department, with 17 divisions, that would replace the 17 associations.
Additional reporting by Chien Hui-ju
Tropical Storm Koinu is expected to come closest to Taiwan from Wednesday through Friday as it passes through the Bashi Channel, but it remained uncertain how it would affect the weather, the Central Weather Administration (CWA) said. As of 8am yesterday, Koinu was about 1,000km east-southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Taiwan’s southernmost point, and was moving northwest at 12kph, the CWA said. Koinu is likely to strengthen into a typhoon today or tomorrow and turn west as it enters the Bashi Channel to the south of Taiwan proper, CWA forecaster Chao Hung (趙竑) said. The storm’s trajectory is still unclear, so more time is
Taichung prosecutors yesterday indicted three people on charges of fraud for allegedly passing off watches assembled in Taiwan as Swiss-made timepieces and earning NT$400 million (US$12.4 million) in illicit gains. The Taichung branch office of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said in a statement that the group, headed by Mei Hua Precision Industry Co (梅華精密) and Laora Trading Co (仁徠貿易) manager Yang Hung-pin (楊鴻斌), had purchased the rights to use the Swiss trademark Ogival years ago and from November 2006 to December 2020 sold 26,282 counterfeit watches in department stores and online platforms in Taiwan. The branch office said they received
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
TRAJECTORY: Koinu’s outer rim is expected to reach Orchid Island early tomorrow and Taitung at about noon, where waves of at least 6m are forecast A sea warning for Typhoon Koinu was issued at 11:30pm last night, the Central Weather Administration (CWA) said, adding that a land warning could be issued today. High waves of about 2m were observed in Taitung yesterday, while waves of 6m or higher were forecast for today, said Huang Chia-mei (黃嘉美), head of the CWA’s Taitung Weather Station. At noon yesterday, Koinu was about 660km southeast of Taitung, she said, adding that it was moving more to the north and its center could possibly make landfall. The storm’s outer rim would likely reach Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) in the early hours tomorrow and