Legislative reform badly needed for Taiwan

Legislator Huang Kuo-chang vents anger over corruption and government failure to implement legislative reform

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Screengrab of speech by Taiwanese legislator Huang Kuo-chang

Screengrab of speech by Taiwanese legislator Huang Kuo-chang

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – New Power Party legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) of Taiwan accused the legislature of dereliction of duty and called for an end to corruption and an “exploitative economy” inflicted upon the island by venal politicians.

Huang, one of the lead figures of the Sunflower Student Movement, which was organized by students and civil groups in 2014, lashed out against malpractice and malfeasance in the political sphere in a speech at the Taipei International Convention Center on Sunday (July 28).

Citing the Roo Hsing (如興紡織) scandal as an example, Huang lambasted the government for “helping channel the hard-earned money of Taiwanese taxpayers to China.” Chairman Chen Shih-hsiu (陳仕修) of the largest jeans-processing firm of Taiwan, which received an investment of a staggering NT$150 million from the National Development Fund for the acquisition of J.D. United Holdings (玖地) of China, is now under investigation for alleged violations of the Securities and Exchange Act in a scandal that involves “Chinese infiltration into a Taiwanese business.”

Huang expressed his disbelief that an investigation committee commissioned by the National Development Council to look into the case included members of Chen’s family. He asked incredulously, “How can this happen? How am I going to protect the whistle-blowers?”

Huang also slammed the Health Promotion Administration for oversight that has led to a public smoking cessation center—which oversees programs to help people quit smoking and audits expense reimbursements-- riddled with graft, corruption, and misuse of funds from the tobacco surcharge.

Neglect of duty and corruption are rampant in the political arena, from the central to the local governments, Huang argued. Misconduct across the political spectrum has amounted to a plutocracy that hinders economic development and, if not checked, would continue to “exploit future generations,” he warned.

The legislator also urged sensible politicians to work together, pressing ahead with legislative reform that models the congressional hearing system of certain countries. The introduction of such a mechanism, he believes, would be conducive to more sound legislative policymaking and regulatory enforcement.