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Lawmakers should be required to keep civil tongues: scholar
Central News Agency
2014-08-10 07:28 PM
Taipei, Aug. 10 (CNA) A local scholar on Sunday called for a code of conduct in the Legislature to keep lawmakers from disparaging Cabinet officials, following the resignation of Taiwan's economics minister that some linked to insults by an opposition legislator.

Liao Da-chi, a professor of political science at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung, made the proposal, saying lawmakers who use derogatory language in questioning ministers should be condemned, as such a style was unwanted by voters.

Lawmakers deride ministers only to attract attention, which has done nothing to rebuild Kaohsiung following the deadly gas blasts, the professor said, apparently referring to remarks made by opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chen Chi-mai hours before former Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch tendered his resignation last Thursday. In what was described by some as the final straw, Chen criticized Chang as "cold-blooded" and "inhumane" by being at a review of a bill on the free economic pilot zone project in the Legislature in Taipei that day, instead of being present in the disaster areas.

Thomas Peng, an associate professor of political science at National Taiwan University, said, however, that the former minister did not quit solely because of Chen's remarks, but due to a series of setbacks that have weighed on his mind.

Chang has been struggling to push a trade-in-services agreement with China and a subsequent trade-in-goods agreement, while talks on Taiwan's bids to join regional economic blocs have all but stalled, Peng noted.

Hampered by an inefficient lawmaking body and deep-seated hostility between ruling and opposition parties, the veteran was unable to wield his expertise in management and economic issues to push important government projects, Peng said of Chang.

At least 30 people were killed and more than 300 injured in a series of underground gas explosions that ripped through the streets of downtown Kaohsiung just before midnight on July 31.

(By Kelven Huang and Scully Hsiao)

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