FEPZ bill stalled by bickering in Legislative Yuan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-05-29 01:58 PM
A joint meeting of members from committees on the economy, finance and interior in the Legislative Yuan saw a lot of bickering but little else Wednesday in an attempt to review a draft proposal on special regulations for the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs). Several heads of counties and cities around the island were also invited to attend the session but ended up witnessing another episode of "Microphone Wars" in the legislative body.

DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai started off the proceedings with a rousing criticism of the bill. He was then followed by KMT convener Huang Chao-shun, who claimed that Huang’s attack was a violation of proceedings and "even more spiteful than Chang Ching-chung!" Huang declared that he "will not take Chen Chi-mai’s personal attacks" and the two lawmakers went back and forth with insults and barbs until the committee adjourned with little to show for its efforts.

Ruling and opposition lawmakers have tussled over the FEPZ bill from the very start in the Legislative Yuan, and KMT sought to shift from a defensive stance on the legislation by taking the unusual step of inviting KMT mayors and county magistrates to sit in on the proceedings Wednesday. The leader of the opposition camp refused to endorse the proposal, however, even refusing to offer any written comments in protest of the blue maneuver.

The KMT officials included Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi, Changhua County Magistrate Chuo Po-yuan, Hsinchu City Mayor Hsu Ming-tsai and Kinmen County Magistrate Li Wo-shi. The blue leaders all arrived ready to stand up in defense of the FEPZ bill, with Chuo stressing the pressing need to set up an FEPZ in the Changbin coastal district and Fu Kun-chi saying that Hualien urgent needed an FEPZ and port in its area. As soon as they saw a deadlock developing in the legislative chamber, however, they made a hasty exit.

Wednesday’s meeting opened with lawmakers from the DPP and TSU holding up placards calling for the committee to "Observe the rules of order in the meeting" and protesting the decision to put Huang Chao-shun in charge of the proceedings.

DPP Legislator Wu Bingrui jumped all over Huang for his abrupt announcement in the last meeting of the committee on May 15 that review of the second draft had been suspended. Wu complained that Wednesday’s session should have begun with a look at the second draft once more rather than going on to the third draft.

With a look of exasperation Huang declined to take up the second draft, earning him the wrath of DPP lawmakers who accused him of looking for trouble.

Meanwhile Kuan Ming, chairman of the National Development Council, was critical of the opposition’s tactics, saying that "boycotts work to the advantage of other countries." Kuan pointed out that China and many Southeast Asian nations have various forms of free trade and free economic zones and as Taiwan strives to cooperate with the international community, and if the FEPZ bill is not passed, any opportunity for that will be ceded to other countries.

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