Ma to hold meeting on pension reform

NO CAN DO:Responding to the DPP’s proposed national affairs conference, Fan Chiang Tai-chi said current provisions were sufficient to deal with pension reform

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 - Page 1

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss pension reform with the heads of the Executive Yuan, the legislature and the Examination Yuan, Presidential Office spokesperson Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said yesterday.

Fan Chiang also reiterated that the much-scrutinized issue did not need to be addressed through a national affairs conference, as proposed by the opposition.

“After relevant discussions, President Ma will meet with Premier Sean Chen (陳冲),Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) in the next few days to discuss the direction of reform for retirement pension programs’ payment systems,” Fan Chiang said.

After Chen’s pledge last month that he would table a pragmatic reform program for the country’s Labor Insurance and Labor Pension funds and proposals on other pension programs, the Executive Yuan has elevated the inter-ministerial pension reform task force to Cabinet-level, Fan Chiang said.

He said that because bonuses for retired armed forces personnel, civil servants and teachers, as well as the financial burden of the Public Service Pension Fund, all fall under the remit of the Examination Yuan, it would propose relevant reforms to the legislature in the near future.

Turning to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-proposed national affairs conference to discuss pension reform, Fan Chiang said the current government system was adequate to handle the much-publicized issue, because carrying out such reform would involve making amendments to the law, which would first have to be tendered by the Executive Yuan and the Examination Yuan before being approved by the legislature.

“As such, holding a large-scale national affairs conference outside the system would be unnecessary,” Fan Chiang added.

Fan Chiang was referring to former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call on Nov. 9 for the president to invite various political parties and people from all sectors of society to hold a national affairs conference to discuss problems related to the nation’s ailing pension systems.

The DPP’s Central Standing Committee passed a resolution on Wednesday calling on Ma to hold a national affairs conference and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said at the weekend that he would continue to run an online campaign in support of such a conference.

However, the Ma administration has turned down the proposal.

“Even if a consensus were reached during such a meeting, it would still have to be finalized and implemented by the systems of the three branches of government, which could drag on for a long time,” Fan Chiang said, adding that such a meeting may not be conducive to facilitating reform if it also brings about an increase in social discord.