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KMT to push another controversial bill in legislative sitting

KMT to push another controversial bill in legislative sitting

Taipei, July 16 (CNA) As if the fracas caused by the economic cooperation framework arrangement (ECFA) with China at the Legislative Yuan was not bad enough, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) is set to put another controversial bill on the agenda of the next legislative extraordinary sitting in August.
One day after President Ma Ying-jeou expressed hope that the bill, which will entail revisions to three acts to allow Chinese students to study in local colleges, will be passed by the legislature in August, KMT lawmakers said Friday that they will put it on the agenda of the special sitting.
Ma's administration has pushed for the opening of Taiwanese colleges to Chinese students, promising that the policy will neither cost local students' chances of being admitted to colleges nor undermine their chances of winning scholarships, while Chinese students will not be allowed to stay after graduation and will not be allowed to work here.
However, the bill got snarled up at the legislature because of the KMT's refusal to write these limitations into acts as demanded by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The ruling party said doing so would decrease the flexibility of the policy, which is supposed to be reviewed one year after taking effect, laying the groundwork for more brawling at the legislature.
The bill was put on hold at the end of the last regular legislative session for a one-month calming down period as the two parties failed to sort out their differences.
The last fighting in the legislature took place at a special sitting July 8 to debate the ECFA and was triggered when the ruling party rejected a DPP demand that the pact should be reviewed clause-by-clause.
The opposition's attempts to filibuster the session led to a free-for-all between the lawmakers of the two parties in which one KMT lawmaker was injured and had to be treated in hospital.
The KMT is determined to ratify the trade pact in the next sitting to be held in August at the KMT's request.
That sitting is set to be even more explosive if the KMT adds to it the bill to open local colleges to Chinese students.
Lawmaker Kuan Pi-ling, secretary of the DPP legislative caucus, said Friday that her party will not play into the hands of KMT by threatening to take violent filibuster tactics, but she added that the KMT lawmakers should know better than to follow the president's war cry.
"We have made our stance on the issue clear and it is up to the KMT whether to opt for fighting or talking," Kuan said.
She also accused the president of "trampling on the legislature" by trying to control the KMT lawmakers.
"No president has ever tried this before," she said. Noting that a just-concluded forum between the KMT and the Communist Party of China agreed to push for the implementation of the ECFA and the accreditation of each other's diplomas, Kuan said the president is obviously trying to follow the conclusions of the forum in an unconstitutional manner.
In addition to damaging his own image, Kuan said, Ma has justified the opposition's criticism that he is Beijing's puppy in Taiwan.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng refused to speculate on whether the KMT's decision is pouring oil on the fire, saying only that he hopes all bills will be debated peacefully at the legislature.
Wang was set to depart for The Gambia for an official visit as Ma's envoy Saturday while the legislature is in recess.
(By Kelven Huang, He Meng-kuei, Chou Yung-chieh and Maubo Chang)




Updated : 2021-07-30 16:51 GMT+08:00