Thu, Oct 27, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT asked to back leaders' pension cuts

RIVAL VERSIONS The KMT will review a suggestion by Lien Chan's son, while the DPP and PFP discussed their own proposals to reduce benefits for former leaders

By Mo Yan-chih and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, right, calls for financial transparency by political parties and a clear demarcation between state-owned and party assets during a meeting of the party's Central Standing Committee yesterday. He said that the people responsible for running enterprises either wholely or partly owned by the state, and foundations established by the government should in the future declare their organizations' assets and make public records of political donations.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee (CSC) member Lien Sheng-wen (連勝文) yesterday formally proposed the party back the abolishment of the Statute Governing Preferential Treatment to Retired Presidents and Vice Presidents (卸任總統副總統禮遇條例), even though his father would be affected by such a move.

The son of former KMT chairman and former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) made the call in a written statement submitted during the party's weekly CSC meeting.

"Because the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] government has failed the Taiwanese people by causing an economic downturn, I suggested that the KMT's policy committee and legislative caucus should push for an abolishment of the statute," Lien Sheng-wen said in his proposal.

He was not at the meeting because he is in China with his parents.

In his statement, the junior Lien also criticized President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for trying to provoke a political dispute by raising the idea of abolishing the statute and reforming the preferential interest rates of up to 18 percent that public servants receive.

Lien Sheng-wen also suggested that the preferential interest rates policy be revised.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) agreed that both issues should be considered with the goal of improving the public's economic situation in mind.

He instructed the party's policy committee and think tank to review the proposals, and said the results of those reviews would be made public in a week's time.

The law on presidential pensions was also the focus of the DPP and People First Party (PFP) caucuses yesterday.

Both groups unveiled their own proposed revisions to the law, which would set limits on how long former state leaders would enjoy preferential treatment.

DPP Legislator Wu Bing-ray (吳秉叡), convener of the party's taskforce on revising the law, said the caucus would like to set a 10-year limit on special treatment for ex-presidents and a five-year limit for former vice presidents.

The DPP caucus proposes paying ex-presidents a monthly pension of NT$230,000 (US$6,815) in addition to providing housing and furnishings, vehicles, assistants, medical care and security guards and the privilege of attending state events.

Retired vice presidents would get the same pension and all of the same benefits except for housing and furnishings.

Wu said that the caucus still has to discuss its proposals some more and that a final vote would be made at a caucus meeting tomorrow.

The draft that the DPP caucus outlined had been mapped out during a taskforce meeting yesterday.

Meanwhile, PFP caucus whip Hwang Yih-jiau (黃義交) said his caucus is seeking to amend the law to allow former presidents and vice presidents to enjoy special treatment for just four years.

He said the shorter time limit that he said could save taxpayers about NT$80 million a year.

The PFP wants ex-presidents and vice presidents to get a monthly pension about NT$160,000.

Former presidents would get other benefits, including the privilege of attending national ceremonies, transportation vehicles, assistants, medical care and security guards.

Instead of getting housing and furnishings, however, the PFP would provide only an office of less than 50 ping and office equipment. The caucus also wants the number of vehicles, drivers, assistants and security guards to be reduced.

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