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KMT lawmakers all against SID dismantlement: whip

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuomintang (KMT) caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said yesterday that the existence of the Special Investigation Division (SID) is at present necessary, and that his caucus is unanimously against its dismantlement, adding that fellow party lawmakers who fail to toe the party line will be handed over to the their party's disciplinary committee.

The KMT caucus yesterday held a meeting at the Legislative Yuan to discuss the matter, following a successful move by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Dec. 13 to place an amendment to the Court Organic Act that would dismantle the SID at the top of the docket. Several KMT lawmakers abstained from voting against the motion, prompting KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) to attend yesterday's meeting in hopes of creating an intra-party consensus.

According to KMT lawmaker Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), who doubles as chief of the ruling party's policy committee, Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) said that the Ministry of Justice is collecting relevant information on the SID issue, and that there should be results by the end of January or beginning of February in 2014.

The caucus whip said that the SID issue is essentially a showdown between the ruling party and the opposition parties, and that KMT lawmakers are unanimously against the SID's dismantlement.

An unnamed KMT lawmaker, however, said that the number of KMT lawmakers who support and don't support the SID's dismantlement is roughly the same.

The lawmaker explained that those who support the dismantlement believe that the SID wields too much power and that it has been abusing its authority.

Those who are against the dismantlement argue that the SID is capable of investigating the president and other high-ranking officials, which is why its existence is necessary, and that concerns over whether or not the prosecutor-general himself has too much power can be dealt with separately without dismantling the SID in its entirety, the lawmaker added.

Legislative Gridlock

Meanwhile, KMT lawmaker Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) suggested ending the legislative session on Dec. 31 because the ruling party and opposition party caucuses have not been able to hold successful negotiations on the central government's budget and other major bills.

Lu further suggested holding an interim session to deal with the central government's 2014 budget as well as the cross-strait trade in services pact.

The KMT caucus whip said that several DPP members have been intentionally stalling the process of reviewing budgetary bills, and that his caucus has not excluded the possibility of holding an interim session to deal with the matters.

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