Legislators yesterday clashed over the fairness of the bills targeting the ill-gotten assets of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the legislature’s first official hearing.
The marathon hearing by the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee, Finance Committee and Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee started early in the morning and stretched into the evening, with the conclusion postponed when time ran out with more than 50 legislators yet to speak.
Seventy-five out of the Legislative Yuan’s 113 legislators had registered to question government officials regarding the legislation, which has drawn attention due to the long-standing controversy over KMT assets.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
KMT properties and investments dwarf those belonging to all other parties and are alleged to have been accumulated as a result of the party abusing its influence under the authoritarian one-party rule.
Sparks flew throughout the hearing as legislators traded barbs over the fairness of proposed legislation.
“We are willing to be open and candid in dealing with the issue of party assets, and give them up to move forward, but today’s review is too targeted and vengeful,” KMT caucus whip Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said, adding that the hearing only sought to summon KMT party representatives for questioning.
All major parties that have received government subsidies over the past 10 years should be required to fully disclose financial records and accept questioning at the Legislative Yuan, he said, condemning the legislation sponsored by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators for only applying to the KMT.
Representatives from the KMT’s central party organization boycotted the hearing.
Lai also said the legislation would likely be unconstitutional, as it violates the separation of powers by allowing the Executive Yuan to establish a committee with judicial investigative powers.
KMT objections were rebuffed by legislators from the pan-green camp, who contended that the KMT should be held to higher standards because of its history.
DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) responded that the proposed bills targeting the KMT was appropriate, because it was the only party that could reasonably be suspected of having “illicit assets.”
DPP party articles forbid it from investing or operating businesses, he said, adding that other parties have lacked the authority and opportunity to accumulate assets.
“Of course this legislation is targeted. It is targeted at illicit assets — if you acquired them legally there is nothing anyone could do to you,” DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said. “Of course this is a ‘hunt,’ but it is a hunt for illicit assets, not property belonging to ordinary people.”
Implementing the proposed legislation retroactively was justified due to the KMT’s unjust acquisition of assets, DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said, adding that the party should be required to prove the legality of all of its assets.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) brushed off KMT claims that it was willing to divest itself of “illicit assets.”
“The KMT’s actions and words are at odds,” Ker said. “The KMT says it is not opposed [to taking care of illicit assets], but you know it is the minute you look at its proposed legislation. It is written very clearly: No satellite organizations are to be pursued, and any controversy is to go to the Control Yuan, which they control.”
He called for the issue of KMT assets to be handled as part of a broader framework to achieve transitional justice, which he defined as facing history to allow the nation to normalize.
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