The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday morning occupied the legislative speaker’s podium to protest the Cabinet’s NT$880 billion (US$29 billion) budget proposal for the “Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project,” calling for 10 public hearings to be held before the proposal is reviewed, which a cross-caucus negotiation in the afternoon cut to six.
The legislature’s question-and-answer session ended on Tuesday and lawmakers yesterday started reading bills, with the Cabinet’s budget proposal for the infrastructure project one of the bills to be referred to legislative committee.
KMT lawmakers, clad in caucus uniforms, obstructed the proceedings by occupying the legislative speaker’s podium and shouting criticism of the project, demanding that at least 10 public hearings be held before the proposal is reviewed by six of the eight legislative committees.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The placards they placed on the podium read: “The real purpose of the ‘Forward-looking’ project is buying votes,” “The project emphasizes Democratic Progressive Party [DPP]-governed regions,” “Is it so easy for the government to squander nearly NT$1 trillion when the people are suffering” and “10 public hearings have to be held to break this ‘forward-looking’ black box.”
A cross-caucus negotiation was called, at which the ruling DPP caucus agreed to hold the public hearings, but the two parties locked horns over the number of the hearings and who should preside over them.
The KMT caucus demanded that 10 public hearings be held, four in central and southern Taiwan.
The DPP disagreed and said that lawmakers are only responsible for hearings held at the legislature.
The two caucuses agreed that six of the eight legislative committees should review the budget proposal and that six public hearings should be held.
It was agreed that only one public hearing should be held each day, to prevent a committee rushing through the required procedure.
DPP headquarters later issued a statement “expressing regret” over the KMT caucus’ obstruction of the project.
“The KMT, barbaric as it might be, should not obstruct the nation’s economic development and the building of local infrastructure,” DPP spokesman Ruan Jhao-syong (阮昭雄) said.
The Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project, which was announced last week, is to focus on “green” energy, water resources, railways, digital infrastructure, and urban and rural development.
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