Taipei, A three-year travel restriction that applies to government officials who have had access to classified information but have already left their posts has been extended to six years, under a law amendment that was passed in the Legislature Tuesday.
The Classified National Security Information Protection Act was amended to close a loophole that lawmakers said allowed local government heads, in particular, to travel abroad without requiring permission, after they leave office.
Under Taiwan law, government officials or clerks who have handled classified information must seek government permission to travel overseas after their retirement, resignation, or transfer.
Prior to the amendment Tuesday, the law applied for a period of three years after the official left office, but that time could be shortened or lengthened, depending on the situation.
Legislator Lee Chun of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said there had been several instances of Kuomintang (KMT) mayors and officials using that clause to travel overseas as soon as three months after they left their posts.
With the passage of the amendment, the travel restriction period can no longer be shortened, but after six years, local government officials will be free to travel without requiring any central government permissions.
The opposition KMT has criticized the amendment, saying it was politically motivated and aimed specifically at its members.
The party said the amendment was passed two weeks before the three-year travel restriction on official of the previous KMT administration of Ma Ying-jeou was due to expire.
The new amendment was an indication that the present DPP administration lacks self-confidence and does not trust its own people, the KMT said in a statement.
The law is seen likely to affect former President Ma and former Vice President Wu Den-yih
Wu was planning to visit China in July for a forum between the KMT and the Communist Party of China. The forum was held annually from 2006 when the KMT in power but was halted in 2017, a year after the DPP took office.
DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang chair of the Laws and Statutes Committee, said the amendment was not targeting any specific party because it applied to all government officials, regardless of their political affiliation.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel