Mega International Commercial Bank said it would decide on first lady Chow Mei-ching’s (周美青) retirement application on June 5 at the latest.
Speculation on whether Chow would continue to work has been a popular subject of debate. Chow finally applied for retirement on May 19, the day before President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was inaugurated.
Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said Chow applied for retirement at the bank where she serves as a director of the department of legal affairs to devote more time to volunteer work and public service and avoid “creating problems” for the bank.
Wang said that the bank had earlier offered a more generous retirement package to encourage its staff to retire, but Chow didn’t apply at the time because she didn’t want others to think that the package was created for her.
Simon Dzeng (曾垂紀), a bank vice president, said that the deadline for the retirement package was May 16, and Chow didn’t apply for retirement until May 19.
The bank has yet to decide whether to accept her application. A Mega Bank official said on Friday that Chow meets the conditions for retirement, but it would take time to process her application. The official added that a decision would be made at the latest at the June 5 meeting of the board of directors.
As she is a ranking official in the bank, the board chairman and the president would carefully review the application to decide whether to approve it or ask her to stay on, the bank said.
Whether Chow should continue to work has become an issue since Ma won the presidential election. Chow said at the time that she hoped to continue working at the bank, where she has been employed for 27 years.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has urged Mega Bank to expedite approval of Chow’s application for retirement.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said that public opinion polls indicated that Chow should resign from her post, noting that she has clung to her job for too long.
“This shows President Ma has a weak character, which is why he has failed to deal with family matters resolutely,” Ker said, questioning “how Ma will be able to tackle the complicated task of ruling a nation.”
Taiwan is a democratic country where workers’ rights are protected, DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said.
However, there are conflicts of interest in politics, and Chow has to “choose between what the public expects of her and her career,” Tsai added.