Legislators across the political spectrum should stop their constant bickering and get down to some real work when the new legislative session opens Tuesday.
Taiwan is facing a stark economic situation: Although stock markets around the world rallied late last week in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing (QE3), it could be only a short-term confidence boost. Experts have predicted that economic recovery will take at least two or three years.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's economy has worsened. Its economic growth has continued to slip and the jobless rate is at risk of running out of control.
As the public is bearing the brunt of the economic woes, there is no room for the persistent petty backbiting in the Legislature.
During its last session, the Legislature was bogged down by the issues of rate hikes for fuel and electricity, a capital gains tax on stock transactions, and the opening of Taiwan's market to U.S. beef containing a leanness-enhancing drug, requiring the holding of an extraordinary legislative session.
A similar scenario could take place in the new session.
The fighting between the ruling and opposition parties could flare up again over such issues as an adjustment of the minimum wage, the implementation of a scheduled second-stage electricity rate hike, and whether a supplementary premium for the second-generation health insurance program should be implemented as scheduled next year.
Former Vice President Vincent Siew lamented at the close of the last legislative session that Taiwan is being dragged down by party rivalry, a viewpoint that has been echoed by the public.
This has rsulted in President Ma Ying-jeou's approval rating slumping since the start of his second term. The Ma administration should take full responsibility for its government efficiency.
We believe a response to demands by the heads of the country's five special municipalities to amend the the Act Governing the Allocation of Revenues and Expenditures so that they get a larger proportion of the available funds will be good start to mitigating the party fighting. (Editorial abstract -- Sept. 17, 2012).
(By Lilian Wu)