Thu, May 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Legislators fight over civil servant pension reform

SPEAK OUT:DPP legislators accused KMT lawmakers of delaying the bill’s reading and a fight ensued over microphones, with one staffer getting injured

By Tseng Wei-chen and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Legislators scuffle during a meeting of the Foreign and National Defense Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Legislators yesterday scuffled as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers protested against a review of proposed reforms to civil servants’ pension.

The legislature’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was examining the bill when KMT lawmakers demanded that the committee hear their statements before commencing a reading of the clauses.

Committee chairman Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) agreed, and 30 members of the KMT caucus each presented about three-minute statements, delaying the bill’s reading by about three hours.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers spoke up twice to express their dissatisfaction with the delaying tactic.

After finishing their statements at 11:35am, the KMT legislators demanded that Wang address all of their concerns before proceeding with the bill’s reading.

DPP legislators then stood by the podium and the two sides started arguing.

At about noon, Wang halted the session, calling for a one-hour recess.

When the session resumed at 1:10pm, the KMT legislators, who had brought microphones and portable speakers, demanded that Wang provide detailed numbers for pension reforms before proceeding with examining the bill.

Wang told the KMT legislators that bringing their own microphones and speakers to the meeting was in contravention of the rules and asked them not to use them.

DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), seeing that the KMT legislators were ignoring Wang’s request, tried to confiscate a microphone.

KMT legislators Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), Lin Li-chan (林麗蟬) and Sra Kacaw (鄭天財) moved to stop him.

When DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) came to Wu’s help, the two sides started scuffling, pushing each other from the front door of the meeting room to the reporters’ seats at the back of the room.

One legislative staff member sustained an injury in the left arm and was bleeding, and Wang called for on-site medical staff to treat the staffer.

The argument continued into the afternoon, with KMT legislators saying the government should halt all military procurements if it is to proceed with the pension reforms.

At 2:50pm, the DPP caucus created a barrier around the podium and reading of the bill was finally able to proceed.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) told reporters in the afternoon that there are no changes to plans to implement pension reforms on July 1, despite protests by retired civil servants and opposition by the KMT.

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