2017-12-16 03:00

LEGISLATIVE BROUHAHA: KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao accused Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan of helping the president turn the democratic system into a monarchy

By Sean Lin / Staff reporter

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday voted to send draft amendments aimed at nationalizing irrigation associations and pushing tax reforms to cross-caucus negotiations, allowing the bill to skip a committee review.

Irrigation associations have traditionally been known for having close ties with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and are often deemed to play an essential role in the party’s vote-canvassing campaigns at a grass-roots level during local or national election campaigns.

The DPP, which holds the legislative majority, tendered a motion to send the draft amendment to the Organic Regulations for Irrigation and Water Conservancy Associations (農田水利會組織通則) to committee review.

In response, KMT lawmakers protested the move, accusing the DPP of pork-barrel politics by proposing an amendment that would abolish the electoral system at the associations and grant the government the right to appoint irrigation association heads.

Shouting slogans, KMT lawmakers said the DPP’s proposed amendment was a “shameless” attempt to “plunder” farmers’ assets under the guise of reform.

After the motion was passed, the DPP filed back-to-back motions to skip related motions filed by other caucuses and to send the draft amendment to cross-caucus negotiations.

The DPP caucus then passed a motion to send a draft amendment to the Income Tax Act (所得稅法), which was being reviewed by the legislature’s Finance Committee, to cross-caucus negotiations, while a motion tabled by the KMT to send the draft amendment to the Procedural Committee for further deliberation was vetoed.

“Democracy was put to shame at the legislature today,” Finance Committee convener KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) told a news conference.

The DPP caucus bypassing committee review suggests that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is eager to pander to the nation’s leading equity traders, Fai said, adding that the move deprived lawmakers of their authority to review the 52 amendments in detail.

The proposed cuts in dividend and personal income taxes would offer the vast majority of ordinary citizens tax deductions totaling NT$61.6 billion, while allowing the nation’s top 1,000 stock traders to save a combined NT$37.8 billion, the Ministry of Finance has said.

However, KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that the DPP likely rushed the draft amendment to cross-caucus negotiations to meet a deadline for honoring a “promise” to the nation’s wealthy elite.

KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that even if the proposed tax reforms have to be approved during an extraordinary session next month, the DPP would only need to wait for about two more weeks.

The DPP’s abuse of its majority in the legislature has ruled out other tax reforms propo博客來書局sed by lawmakers from the opposition, Lai said.

The KMT caucus condemned Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) in the strongest possible terms for standing idly by and not telling Tsai and DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) that they should not send only the DPP caucus’ bill to cross-caucus negotiations while dropping all the other proposals, Lai said.

Su has become Tsai’s collaborator in turning the democratic system into a monarchy, he added.

新聞來源:博客來書店網路書局TAIPEI TIMES
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