An amendment to the Act of Irrigation Association Organization has passed its second reading amid scuffles between ruling and opposition lawmakers.
Under the amendment passed Friday, the association will be turned into an official body with its head appointed by the government. At present, the head is elected directly by its members.
The caucus whip of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Liu Chao-hao, discussed the purpose of the amendment. "Our main goal is to allow the public to share water resources together, to reorganize the irrigation association, and to make it an official body so it can better take care of farmers and ensure that [resources] are shared by the general public," Liu said.
The caucus whip of the opposition KMT, Lin Wei-jo, accused the DPP of favoring certain parties in the name of reform. Other KMT lawmakers said the bill aims to strengthen the DPP’s voter base in next year’s mayor and county commissioner elections. The government has rejected the accusation that the amendment has political considerations.
Ruling and opposition lawmakers have one month to negotiate the amendment. A third reading is required for the bill to pass into law.