Gov’t infrastructure bill hits another roadblock

By Stephanie Chao, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Kuomintang (KMT) protests against the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Development plan took a musical turn Wednesday, with cymbals, gongs and whistles deployed as opposition lawmakers continued to bring a legislative review to a standstill.

The initial review of the draft of the Special Act for Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Plan was again ensnared in chaos, as opposition KMT legislators continued with a procedural blockage that had begun Tuesday.

The opposition legislators hurled slogans and insults at their ruling-party counterparts during a scheduled joint meeting of a legislative committee, with the review session making no progress as a cacophony of KMT lawmakers shouted “objection” after the agenda was confirmed.

Farcical scenes then erupted as some lawmakers started crashing cymbals, hitting gongs and blowing on whistles, with the ensuing pandemonium forcing the review to a temporary halt as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers exited the room. KMT lawmakers have objected to passage of the bill, which will budget over NT$880 billion (US$29.3 billion) over eight years for nationwide infrastructure projects — including light rail and railway extensions — arguing that the spending is politically motivated and favors localities ruled by the DPP. The ruling party has vehemently denied the accusations of favoritism. DPP lawmakers attempted to force the bill through its initial review last week, but reversed their decision and scheduled two days to review the draft law.