Cold-Blooded Hypocrisy of Legislature More Regrettable than Kaohsiung Gas Explosion
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 5, 2014
Summary: Frankly, those responsible for causing the gas explosion in Kaohsiung
have already surfaced. Future claims, investigations, and
reconstruction, can be addressed without difficulty, one at a time. By
contrast, legislative negligence, playing politics, and hypocrisy, have
left Taiwan's economy and democracy in a shambles. The result has been a
thousand times worse than the Kaohsiung gas explosion. This legislature
is out of touch with public opinion. It is out of touch with the pulse
of the nation. It is indeed "too cold-blooded."
Full Text Below:
The Legislative Yuan was supposed to review the FEPZ Bill yesterday. Instead it invoked the Kaohsiung gas explosion as a pretext for further foot-dragging. KMT Legislator Huang Chau-shun said, "Disaster relief must come first." DPP Legislator Cheng Lam-toi said, "If we don't halt our review now, then we are out of touch with public sentiment, and too cold-blooded!" Meanwhile, the PFP proposed swift consideration of "Kaohsiung gas explosion disaster recovery special regulations" and the approval of a suitable budget.
The Kaohsiung gas explosion disaster has inflicted nationwide pain. Beginning today, the national flag will be flown at half mast for three days. This is a disaster people must not forget. But disaster relief is disaster relief. Reconstruction is reconstruction. Other major national policy and general livelihood issues must still be dealt with, as usual. This is the only way a nation can maintain its equilibrium. Therefore the assertion that legislative routine would cold-bloodedly undermine disaster relief is ludicrous. If this were true, then Legislative Yuan should not review bills during a disaster. Then factories should shut down all over Taiwan. Then people should stop working and stop going to class. Then people should roll up their sleeves and head south to take part in disaster relief. Either that, or the entire nation should shut themselves in and do nothing but weep?
When advanced democracies experience such a tragedy, legislators merely hold a minute of silence before returning to doing what they are supposed to do. Each person guards his post, each person fulfills his duty. This is how an orderly nation remains on track. Within the affected areas in Kaohsiung, victims have been provided with accomodations and donated materiel. Support from the military and other counties and cities is already in place. All that remains is the determination of responsibility and reconstruction. Prosecutors are alreaddy investigating those responsible. Unless legislators want to seize the opportunity to engage in mud-slinging, they have no reason to meddle. Reconstruction will require local and central governments compiling a to-do list, clarifying divisions of responsibility in the public sector and the private sector, and preparing a redevelopment plan. At that point there may be something to discuss. For the moment, the Kaohsiung City Government is still clueless about what to do. If the Legislative Yuan discusses reconstruction or rehabilitation during the special session, then it is building castles in the sky.
In fact the legislature is probably the "hardest hit disaster area" in the nation today, even harder hit than the Kaohsiung gas explosion disaster area. One. The FEPZ bill, the FTA, the Cross-Strait Agreements Oversight Bill and other major economic bills remain stuck in the Legislative Yuan, which does nothing about them. Among these, the oversight bill was supposed to "first legislate, then review." Now it has come to, "not legislated, not reviewed." Therefore who knows when the STA will see the light of day. The Legislative Yuan is the "hardest hit disaster area" when the issue is national decision-making. That much is certainly true.
Two. The country has steadily grown. It relied on the tireless daily operation of a solid rule of law foundation and administrative infrastructure. The legislature's responsibility is the establishment of the rule of law. But our legislature simply loves to intervene on behalf of irrelevant short-term issues. It shifts with the winds, and shirks its duty. Consider the Kaohsiung propene disaster. First, the city government routinely neglects its underground pipelines. Secondly, when disaster strikes, it lacks professional disaster intelligence. As a result, the public is endangered. In recent years blue vs. green battles in the Legislative Yuan frequently led to forcible occupations of the podium. Their hypocrisy, indolence, and callousness, treats people like straw dogs and the affairs of the nation like children's games. Green camp caucus secretary general Tsai Chi-chang opposed a review of the FEPZ Bill. He said the KMT caucus wanted "to keep the common people in mind." But when has the DPP caucus ever kept the wishes of the common people in mind?
Three. The Kaohsiung gas explosion disaster is hard to bear. But compared to Taiwan's economy in recent years, with the attendant suffering and no solution in sight, what is worse? The gas explosion has already happened. We are now in the post-disaster investigation and reconstruction phase. But Taiwan's political and economic disaster is a crisis that continues to deepen with long delays and day after day of prevarication in the Legislative Yuan. The PRC-ROK FTA will be signed by the end of the year. This poses a major threat. Taiwan's industrial competitiveness is about to be washed away in a landslide. Yet ruling and opposition party legislators have gone so far as to assert that the Kaohsiung gas explosion must be given priority, and that they are in no hurry to hear the bill. Consider this superficial, short-sighted, cart before the horse mindset. How does it differ from the way LCY Chemical neglected its pipeline and concealed the leak? How does it differ from the way the Kaohsiung City Government deceived itself and others about the propene gas leak?
Kaohsiung reconstruction must have central government support and cooperation before it can be completed. That cannot be denied. But that hardly means that the affairs of state must all be shut down in the meantime, and all support thrown behind Kaohsiung. In fact, rescue work is being carried out with the help of the entire nation. People have expressed spontaneous enthusiasm. Under the circumstances, the legislature should be trying to rescue the "hardest hit disaster area" under its jurisdiction. It should clear the docket of delayed and neglected bills as soon as possible. The Kaohsiung gas explosion investigation and prosecution, should be left to judicial authorities and responsible agencies. We have not seen any legislators with any special knowledge in this area.
Frankly, those responsible for causing the gas explosion in Kaohsiung have already surfaced. Future claims, investigations, and reconstruction, can be addressed without difficulty, one at a time. By contrast, legislative negligence, playing politics, and hypocrisy, have left Taiwan's economy and democracy in a shambles. The result has been a thousand times worse than the Kaohsiung gas explosion. This legislature is out of touch with public opinion. It is out of touch with the pulse of the nation. It is indeed "too cold-blooded."
2014.08.05 03:36 am