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Legislature makes non-binding resolution to abolish the SID

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) again refused to attend an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, the Legislature's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee put forth a non-binding resolution to abolish the Special Investigation Division (SID).

The committee was originally scheduled to review and discuss amendments to the Court Organization Act, some articles of which pertain to the prosecutor-general's term of office, and thus summoned Huang to attend the interpellation. Only 15 minutes before the start of the meeting, however, the committee received Huang's request for absence.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻), who doubles as the convener of the committee, said she did not approve of Huang's absence. “This is not the first time Huang neglected the Legislative Yuan's request to attend interpellations, and it shows that Huang is belittling the Legislature. We should condemn him for it,” Wu said.

Minister of Justice Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) said she had spoken with Huang on Sunday night, who told her that as he believed lawmakers merely wanted to humiliate him at the interpellations, he chose not to attend.

Lo said she hoped Huang would come, but respected Huang's decision. “I cannot force him, there is nothing I can do about it,” Lo stated.

Legislators of both the ruling and opposition parties expressed outrage at Huang's absence, and demanded that Lo continue her attempts to contact Huang and convince him to attend the interpellation.

Lo said she had called Huang during her lunch break, but that Huang did not change his mind.

DPP Lawmaker Lashes Out at Minister of Justice

When asked by DPP lawmaker Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) if the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) would punish Huang for his numerous absences from Legislative hearings, Lo said the ministry would consider punitive action.

Chen yelled at and criticized her for doing nothing about it, while noting that Lo's actions in “spoiling” Huang were those of an “idiot minister.”

Lo responded to Chen: “Legislator Chen, please show some respect to me.”

Committee Resolutions

In light of Huang's absence, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) proposed that the body condemn Huang by transferring the case to the Control Yuan for investigation; by abolishing the SID, of which Huang is in charge; and by removing allocations for the SID in the 2014 budget.

When the committee put Ker's proposal to a vote, only Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) remained in the room, with the rest of the KMT legislators on the panel absent. The committee thus passed the non-binding resolution with only one vote in opposition.

SID spokesperson John Chang (張進豐) said it was not the SID's position to comment on the non-binding resolution put forth by the Legislature's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Huang has not yet issued public comments on the matter.

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Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), standing at left, raises his hand in support of his own proposal to abolish the Special Investigation Division (SID), yesterday at the Legislative Yuan, Taipei. (CNA)

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