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5 KMT members break ranks on SID motion

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A total of five Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers yesterday abstained from voting on a motion to move to the top of the Legislature's docket an amendment to the Court Organic Act that would dismantle the Special Investigation Division (SID).

The KMT caucus said that it would discuss whether or not to take disciplinary actions against the five lawmakers: Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒), Lu Chia-chen (盧嘉辰), Chen Ken-te (陳根德), Chang Chia-chun (張嘉郡) and Lee Ching-hua (李慶華).

Chen said that since the Agency Against Corruption already exists, there is question as to whether the SID is redundant, considering the fact that the division requires a substantial amount of funds each year to operate.

Chen explained that these reasons led him to break party ranks on this issue.

The lawmaker, however, also said that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been using the SID issue for ulterior motives, and that the opposition party is not concerned with actual reform.

Meanwhile, Lu said that although he has been critical of the SID, he abstained from voting because the floor was in a state of commotion and he couldn't hear clearly what the motion was.

As to whether disciplinary measures would be taken against the lawmakers who abstained from voting, KMT Legislator Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) said that his caucus will discuss the matter at a later time.

Speaking on behalf of the KMT caucus, Lin said that DPP proposals to alter the agenda and request a secret ballot, instead of a non-secret floor vote, were inappropriate considering the magnitude of the bill in question.

The ruling party caucus later called for recess to avoid a summary vote on the amendment and to allow lawmakers enough time to think about the matter rationally, Lin added.

After the DPP caucus proposed a change to the agenda, requesting that the amendment to the Court Organic Act be placed at the top of the docket, the KMT in response requested a public floor vote, but the request was denied by Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) who said that no caucus had requested a non-secret ballot beforehand, and that since voting had already begun, a request to alter the procedure could not be granted.

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