Ma urges passage of trade pact and policy report

By Adam Tyrsett Kuo,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that whether the cross-strait service trade pact is passed by the Legislature will affect Taiwan’s participation in regional economic integration, urging lawmakers to pass the pact in this legislative session. Ma pointed out that all Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers cast their votes against the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) recent no-confidence motion, and that the ruling party caucus was also able to garner support from non-partisan legislators as well, allowing the legislative branches of government to get back on track and focus on the economy. The DPP’s proposal was voted down by 67 to 45. The president expressed gratitude for lawmakers’ unity and support. A total of 112 bills were passed in the last legislative and interim sessions, Ma said, adding that although many critical bills were passed, there are still a lot of important issues that need to be resolved this session, including the central government’s budget for 2014, annuity reform, the cross-strait service trade pact, regulations on cross-strait representative offices and urban renewal. These are all issues that will affect Taiwan’s future, as well as whether or not the Republic of China can avoid being marginalized and take part in regional economic integration, the president said. The cross-strait service trade pact is an issue not only the people of Taiwan are concerned about, it is also an issue that members of the international media are very concerned about, Ma added. Political stability and a focused Legislature are required to launch policies such as these, the president said, urging all parties involved to do the best they can. Citing last session’s amendment to increase DUI penalties, Ma said that between January and September of this year, DUI-related deaths decreased by 35 percent year-on-year. This year may very well become the year of the highest decrease in DUI-related deaths, Ma said. The president thanked lawmakers and encouraged them to keep up the good work. Blocking Premier from Podium Not Constitutional: Ma The president said that the opposition’s efforts to block Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) from giving his policy report run counter to the constitution, adding that since the no-confidence motion failed to pass, lawmakers should allow the premier to fulfill his constitutional duties. Ma expressed regret over the fact that Jiang was six times blocked from taking the podium since the legislative session began last month. The premier has a constitutional obligation to give his policy report at the Legislature, Ma said, adding that the Legislature had invited Jiang to take the podium, which was seized and occupied by opposition lawmakers, preventing the premier from giving his report.

Not only do the opposition’s actions run counter to the constitution, opposition lawmakers are also depriving the people of their right to know about the government’s policies, affecting the entire administrative operation, Ma said, urging the opposition lawmakers to let Jiang fulfill his constitutional duties.