Hualien County Councilor Liu Hsiao-mei (劉曉玫) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday protested Hualien County Council’s decision last week to temporarily suspend her after she opposed a bill to adjust the schedule of the council’s plenary question-and-answer session.
Liu’s rights as county councilor are suspended for three months.
Liu decried the council’s decision yesterday at a news conference in Taipei, saying that suspending the rights of an elected county councilor is both unprecedented and illegal.
Quoting Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Hualien County Councilor Ho Li-tai (何禮臺), who accused her of “sowing serious discord” in the council,” she said it is wrong to simply pursue “harmony” in the county council, as harmony can be the root of corruption.
She said she had not violated any of the discipline committee’s statutes and that the committee’s sudden suspension of her rights had violated procedural justice.
Hualien is a pan-blue stronghold and she said it was obvious who was behind her suspension.
The ruling by the council’s discipline committee came after Ho, who proposed the bill, filed a grievance with the committee, saying that Liu personally attacked him with her remarks during a regular council session in May to vote on the proposal.
Ho proposed adjusting the schedule for the plenary question-and-answer session from the current 12 days to six days to allow county councilors more time to carry out inspections in their respective constituencies.
He previously said he would consider legal action against Liu after Liu repeatedly said his proposal was meant to “protect” independent Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) from public scrutiny.
Liu ridiculed the remark by saying that if Ho did not sue her, he would be a “clown,” which angered Ho and prompted him to file the complaint.
The committee ordered Liu’s suspension at a meeting presided over by KMT Hualien County Councilor Lin Chiu-mei (林秋美). The suspension is to take effect next week, meaning that Liu would be denied access to council meetings during the period.
Prior to the ruling, Liu questioned Fu about the county’s budget.
“More than 80 percent of Hualien’s finances rely on central government funding. Also, the county has a higher percentage of public servants and military personnel than Miaoli. If its spending is not closely watched, it risks becoming the next Miaoli,” Liu said.
The Miaoli County Government earlier this month said it was mired in debt and sought help from the central government, who issued NT$800 million (US$25.35 million) to the county on the condition that it publishes its balance sheet every month.
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