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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times KMT still playing public for a fool

KMT still playing public for a fool

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The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) scoffed at comments that it would soon be replaced by the New Power Party, after a poll showed that there is only about a percentage point difference in the public’s preference between the two. However, with the ongoing travesty being played out in the legislature, it is not hard to think that while the replacement might not be soon, it is not as laughably impossible as the KMT believes it is.

The KMT caucus on Tuesday proposed more than 1,000 motions to slash funding for state-run enterprises. According to an estimation by local media outlets, it would take more than 200 hours to finish voting on them, as the KMT caucus called for a vote on changing the voting method to a roll call, a revote, a vote for the motion and another revote.

If this is a way of protesting the passage of the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), why was the tactic not used to block the bill’s passage on Monday, but launched only on Tuesday?

KMT headquarters and lawmakers called the bill unconstitutional, but did not dare thwart its passage. They are clearly aware that a majority of the public believes the party’s assets need be dealt with, and most crucially, under the public authority’s supervision.

Calls had been ceaselessly made for the KMT to relinquish its illicitly obtained assets; in the previous legislative sessions, the bill had been blocked by the then-KMT majority more than 300 times. It was not until the “threat” became imminent did the KMT start to agree that its assets need scrutinizing and cleaning up.

However, even until the day before the act’s passage, KMT members were not entirely on the same page on how to handle the assets.

KMT Vice Chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) earlier this month said that the party should leave the battlefield over the party assets as soon as possible, for it was a battle that the KMT was “destined to lose,” while former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said the caucus had agreed that the party assets should be “leveled to zero.” However, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) was still picking apart the wording “zero” and arguing that the KMT would still at least need tables and chairs.

With their remarks, they implicitly acknowledged that “some” of the party’s assets might be controversial, but had no idea how many. How does the KMT expect the public to believe that it had sufficient incentive to deal with its ill-gotten assets when it does not even have a clear idea of what should and are to be returned to the state?

The snubbing of cross-caucus negotiations and proposing of more than 1,000 budget-slashing bills that are to be voted down are viewed as the party’s “retaliatory” measures against the passage of the ill-gotten assets legislation.

After the Democratic Progressive Party caucus decided to play along and keep the chamber’s lights on around the clock until today to deal with the KMT’s budget-slashing motions, a KMT lawmaker called on the Taipei Department of Labor to inspect whether legislative employees are being exploited.

If that is not a farce, what is?

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2016/07/29

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Taiwan’s efforts to cement ties with China could undermine its vibrant media environment by skirting topics deemed sensitive to Beijing, observers say.

Concern has grown after Taiwan’s ranking fell 23 places to 59th place in this year’s press freedom index released by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last week.