Taipei--The newly-set schedule to once again review the controversial draft bill detailing the government's ambitious infrastructure development plan at the Legislative Yuan next Monday has been amended, according to a caucus whip from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Ker Chien-ming (???), convener of the DPP legislative caucus, said on Friday that to make room for negotiations between ruling and opposition parties, he and his opposition Kuomintang (KMT) counterpart Liao Kuo-tung (???), reached agreement that the review will not be included on the legislative Economics Committee's agenda next Monday.
Instead, the review will now take place next Wednesday and Thursday, and the KMT caucus has agreed with the rescheduling, Ker said.
Liao told reporters the KMT caucus proposed that the draft of the Special Statute for Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Projects should be sent back to the Cabinet and rewritten, but the DPP insisted on a second attempt at reviewing the bill in the Legislature next week.
Lee Chun-yi (???), a DPP caucus whip, said it is hoped the review of the draft bill will go ahead and if the KMT has any thoughts about the bill or possible revisions, it can propose motions to introduce changes during the review. He called for rational discussion.
The first reading of the bill was passed at a joint meeting of six legislative committees on Wednesday without any substantive review amid fierce protests from opposition lawmakers.
DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (???), who presided over Wednesday's joint meeting, said on Thursday that she had failed to handle the preliminary review properly and was therefore duty bound to annul the vote and have the bill reviewed again next Monday.
The draft statute will allow the Cabinet to budget NT$882.49 billion (US$29.32 billion) over eight years for infrastructure projects around Taiwan, including new light railways and several rail extension or improvement projects. To achieve these goals the new bill controversially overrides the provisions of the existing Public Debts Act.
Under the act, forecast outstanding public debt with a maturity of one year or longer incurred by central and local governments cannot exceed 50 percent of the average nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the previous three fiscal years.
KMT lawmakers have criticized the so-called "forward-looking" infrastructure development plan for its lack of comprehensive policy assessment, unfair budgetary allocations and the fact that it effectively leaves debts for the next generations to deal with.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel