(Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers in Taiwan kicked off another round of debate over a controversial bill that critics says is aimed at reining in new President Lai Ching-te, a move that has brought protesters onto the streets once again.

Legislators started discussing the proposed bill on Wednesday. Underscoring how contentious it is, some of them occasionally shouted at each other during the proceedings.

Protest organizers set up a stage outside the legislature and a few dozen demonstrators gathered on a rainy afternoon.   

The bill would expand the power of lawmakers to investigate government projects and policies, potentially undermining Lai’s leadership of the island at the heart of China-US tensions. A poll by Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation released Tuesday showed Lai with an approval rating of 48%, down 10 percentage points from May.

Supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party protested outside the legislature last month in some of the largest demonstrations in Taiwan in decades. They say the bill could be used to undermine Lai’s government by bogging it down in probes. 

The opposition Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party, which won a legislative majority in the January election that brought Lai to power, contend the bill would bring needed overdue changes to their branch of government.

The legislation would tighten lawmakers’ oversight of Lai’s government by strengthening their power to summon people from a range of backgrounds, including the president, to answer their questions. Individuals could be subject to fines and criminal punishment if they are found in contempt of the legislature.

The opposition parties have already approved the bill but Lai sent it back to them for a review, a maneuver he can use only once. After this round of debate, lawmakers are expected to vote on — and quickly approve — the bill on Friday.

Markets have largely shrugged off the controversy over the bill and the protests. The benchmark Taiex stock gauge rose 2% on Wednesday, extending a record high backed by the artificial intelligence boom. The Taiwan dollar rose 0.1% to 32.36 versus the greenback.

--With assistance from Zhu Lin.

(Updates with details of protesters arriving.)

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