Do KMT Legislators Still Expect to Govern?
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
June 22, 2012
Summary: The legislature which just adjourned accomplished absolutely nothing. Over 385 bills went nowhere, including the US beef imports bill, an object of controversy for months. The DPP resorted to totally unjustified means of protest. They forcibly occupied the legislative hall and podium, provoking widespread criticism. But as the majority party, as the ruling party, the KMT's response was also questionable. If brute force by a minority party can prevent a bill from being passed, this is nothing less than minority rule. The Ma administration is paralyzed. It cannot control either the Presidential Office or the Executive Yuan. In which case, does Taiwan still have any future to speak of?
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The legislature which just adjourned accomplished absolutely nothing. Over 385 bills went nowhere, including the US beef imports bill, an object of controversy for months. The DPP resorted to totally unjustified means of protest. They forcibly occupied the legislative hall and podium, provoking widespread criticism. But as the majority party, as the ruling party, the KMT's response was also questionable. If brute force by a minority party can prevent a bill from being passed, this is nothing less than minority rule. The Ma administration is paralyzed. It cannot control either the Presidential Office or the Executive Yuan. In which case, does Taiwan still have any future to speak of?
The Republic of China is a democracy. Legislative Yuan protests are the norm. But it has never witnessed a legislative session end without the passage of a single bill. The ruling and opposition parties bicker then make up. This has long been their tacit agreement. Less controversial bills are dealt with first. More controversial bills are dealt with last. Legislators negotiate even as they posture. They inevitably pass the bills before the Speaker brings down the gavel. They vote. Either that, or the minority party withdraws in protest and the majority party passes the bill in its absence. This time however, the situation was entirely different, from the very outset. The most controversial U.S. beef imports bill was placed at the very top of the agenda. The DPP decided from the outset not to let the U.S. beef imports bill pass. Sure enough, the day before the five day recess, the DPP forcibly occupied the podium yet again. The opposition DPP deployed its forces. The ruling KMT must respond with equal resolve. Otherwise the public will only be able to look upon the legislature and sigh.
Over 380 bills. Perhaps not all 380 could be placed on the agenda. But surely 38 could have? No matter how incompetent the legislators might be, surely eight bills could have been given priority and passed? Would the DPP have forcibly occupied the legislature in advance? The Legislative Yuan could have dealt with economic issues first. This would have preempted the Democratic Progressive Party's mobilization. But the KMT passed up this opportunity and did nothing. The U.S. beef imports bill failed to pass. Even the typhoon related labor rights paid leave bill failed to pass. Can the majority KMT, the ruling party, completely disown responsibility?
Speaker of the Legislature Wang Jin-pyng, a KMT legislator without portfolio, said he disapproved of the use of police power. This is his standard disclaimer, and no surprise. Wang refuses to order the Legislative Yuan Sargeants at Arms to restore order. But why were DPP legislators able to enter the legislature in advance and occupy the podium? Why didn't Wang order the Legislative Yuan Sargeants at Arms to guard the podium in advance? Was Wang concerned that a phalanx of of Sargeants at Arms arrayed before the podium might hurt our image as a democracy? If so, why didn't Wang allow KMT legislators to enter the legislature in advance? The DPP has 40 legislators. Half of them were able to occupy the podium. Couldn't the KMT with 64 legislators find 20 legislators to enter the legislature in advance to prevent the podium from being occupied? Suppose the situation were reversed? Suppose KMT legislators were lined up on the podium to prevent it from being occupied? Would the DPP dare resort to violence? Would it dare drag them off the podium or [punch them with their fists?
Put bluntly, KMT legislator never had any intention of mobilizing. Their response was half-hearted. Their "Grade A Mobilization Order" just before the recess was nothing more than a "Grade P (for Phony) Mobilization Order." Even DPP legislator Chiu Yee Ying, who was undergoing chemotherapy, traveled north to Taipei to take part. The KMT could not mobilize even 40 legislators. The failed to match the DPP even in numbers. Their majority is nothing more than "a plate of loose sand." How can they possibly govern? The public blasted the DPP, saying it "collected its pay but refused to meet, ate its fill then returned to sleep." But at least they all showed up. Where was the KMT? Some say Blue Camp legislators were under pressure from their local constituent. They were afraid the DPP would demand their recall. They had no choice but to adopt a passive stance on U.S. beef imports. But U.S. beef imports was hardly the only issue. The real issue is whether KMT legislators are good for anything whatsoever? If over half the KMT legislators are useless, then a DPP recall motion is unnecessary. Blue Camp supporters will be angry enough to demand their recall. Their election victories were utterly meaningless. They might as well be recalled and replaced.
The Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, and the KMT originally intended to convene an emergency meeting over the US beef imports issue. The typhoon led to a postponement until July. The KMT legislative caucus has been mocked as "unable to keep it up for even ten minutes." If it persists in doing nothing when the legislature reconvenes, the majority party will become a laughing stock. Whether the U.S. beef imports bill will pass remains unknown. The Minister of Finance has stepped down. The capital gains tax will come to nothing. The terms for NCC commissioners will expire at the end of July. The president's NCC commissioner nominations are on hold. The new commissioners are unavailable. The old commissioners have already returned to academia. Visualize the following scenario. The Ma administration's NCC nominees are unable to review cases, perhaps because they lack a quorum, The legislators nominated by the KMT are unable to review bills. The re-elected Ma administration has been idle for four months. Does it intend to remain idle for four years? When their leadership has come to this, what is there left for the public to say?
Many years ago violent physical clashed in the legislature led to comprehensive re-elections. The ROC transitioned to true democracy. Over 20 years have passed since comprehensive Legislative Yuan re-elections were held. The nation has undergone not one, but two changes in ruling parties. Do the ruling and opposition parties intend to continue playing this childish "King of the Hill" game? At home DPP legislators gobble down U.S. beef. Inside the legislature they oppose US beef imports. Inside the legislature they oppose nuclear power generation. Inside the legislature and at home they turn their air conditioners on full blast. They say one thing while doing another. The KMT must find the resolve to expose the DPP's lies, and the hypocrisy of its "occupy" theatrics. If the KMT cannot pass even this hurdle, then the Ma administration will not be able to get anything passed over the next four years. The Ma administration will find the going rough. But four years later, it will be replaced by someone else. Unfortunately over the next four years, the public on Taiwan will need to live. The public on Taiwan likes efficiency and order. It will not tolerate ineffective rule. KMT legislators must think clearly. You are each members of the ruling party caucus, Can you really sit idly by and shirk responsibility?