Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politicians yesterday played down comments by KMT official Chen Keng-chin (陳庚金), who called on public servants to “goof around as much as possible and milk their jobs for all they are worth” to “drag down the government.”
Chen, who heads the party’s Evaluation and Discipline Committee, on Wednesday told the general assembly of the Association of Retired Public Servants, Teachers, Military and Police of the Republic of China that “public officials, farmers, artisans and merchants” are essentially different and there is no possibility of “absolute equality” among them.
He compared the government’s pension reform to China under Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and called on the audience to “overthrow” a government that would “manufacture that kind of class struggle.”
Chen said that as “actions speak louder than words, we should tell military personnel, public servants and teachers to stand with us and goof around as much as possible and milk their jobs for all they are worth.”
“Let’s drag down this government,” said Chen, a former presidential adviser and former head of the Personnel Administration Bureau.
KMT Vice Chairman and association chairman Jason Hu (胡志強) spoke after Chen, saying: “Our [former] presidential adviser’s words are impassioned and meaningful.”
KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is vying for the chairperson position, told the convention that if elected, he would follow the association’s lead to fight Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pension reforms.
Hau said yesterday that he did not hear Chen’s speech.
However, he said that the DPP administration’s policies — not just pension reform, but others such as labor reform and a proposal to lift restrictions on Japanese prefectures hit with a ban on importing foodstuffs after the meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant — have stirred public discontent.
Hu wrote on Facebook that he “certainly does not support the idea of public servants goofing around,” and said that Chen was “joking.”
KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said he suspects that Chen’s remarks were “emotional words uttered off the top of his head.”
It was out of bitterness sparked by the government’s change of mind over paying pensions to retired officials as promised, Lin said.
However, public officials are bound by laws and would be fired if they “goof around” too much, Lin said, calling for rational discussion.
Chen and Hu are beneficiaries of the current pension system after their years of service with the KMT and as public officials, DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said, adding that they will therefore be affected by pension reform.
Lee called on the KMT to propose its own pension reform plan before the legislature starts reviewing the government’s proposals.
The KMT could propose to keep pensions for retirees and cut benefits for public servants in the workforce today, or it could propose safeguarding the practice of combining service years at the KMT and government agencies and see if the people accept that, Lee said with apparent sarcasm.
Presidential Office spokesperson Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that the goal of pension reform is to guarantee that every Taiwanese can retire with financial security, while allowing the state’s limited resources to be fairly and sustainably distributed.