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Amendment bill to ban foreign residency holders from Cabinet posts

Amendment bill to ban foreign residency holders from Cabinet posts

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan passed preliminary review Monday of an amendment bill that will ban holders of foreign residency, including Hong Kong and Macau, from taking political appointee posts. The amendment was proposed after President Ma Ying-jeou was reported by a local tabloid magazine last week to owe taxes to the U.S. government, rekindling a dispute over whether Ma enjoys U.S. permanent resident status. The dispute occurred for the first time in 2008 when Ma ran for the presidency. Over the past years, his critics have brought up the issue from time to time, questioning the president's loyalty to the country, regardless of Ma's repeated declarations -- backed up definitively by the American Institute in Taiwan -- that his U.S. resident status has been invalidated for many years. Taiwan's existing Nationality Act and Civil Service Employment Act stipulates that Republic of China nationals who hold nationality of another country cannot hold government office. The act, however, does not ban citizens who hold permanent residency of a foreign country from taking senior positions as public servants. Several lawmakers proposed the draft amendment to the Nationality Act in an effort to resolve disputes surrounding the loyalty of government officials in key posts. Under the amendment, anyone in a senior government position will have to finalize the procedure of abandoning their foreign permanent resident status before they assume office, and any foreign residency status must become completely invalidated within one year of the renunciation being carried out. The draft amendment also stipulates that if such officials are unable to obtain a certificate of loss of permanent resident status for causes not attributable to them, and foreign affairs authorities investigate and determine that this is true, they will not need to provide certification. The amendment was reviewed and passed by the Legislative Internal Administration Committee. Addressing the bill's contents, Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen said he agrees with the move to revise the Nationality Act, but suggested that the new regulation not be applied to high-tech professionals in government positions. Chen also questioned how foreign residency checks on public servants could be carried out, since such documentation is the responsibility of other countries. While the Ministry of the Interior and several lawmakers hold different opinions on the contents of the draft amendment, the bill will have to undergo cross-party negotiations before being submitted for review at the plenary session. Meanwhile, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lee Shih-chuan briefed the committee earlier in the day that four Cabinet members have held permanent residency of other countries, all of which have either been abandoned or have become invalid. The four are Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai, Minister without Portfolio Chiang Ping-huang and National Palace Museum Director Feng Ming-chu, Lee said. (By Justin Su and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-02-25 19:37 GMT+08:00