Sat, Mar 28, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislators pan pension proposal

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators across party lines yesterday expressed opposition to the Examination Yuan’s latest public official pension proposal that could increase the government’s financial burden by NT$48.2 billion (US$1.4 billion).

During a question-and-answer session on the legislative floor, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (賴清德) urged Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) to halt the plan.

Lai said such a scheme was not a “reform” but equivalent to a “pay raise” for public officials.

The Examination Yuan on Thursday announced a new public official pension scheme, overturning a policy initiated by the former DPP government in 2006.

The DPP’s policy was meant to reform the government’s preferential interest rate for retired government officials — which stands at 18 percent — and was expected to reduce the government’s financial burden by NT$74.4 billion.

However, the scheme proposed by the Examination Yuan on Thursday would only reduce the government’s burden by NT$26.2 billion, meaning that the government would have to cover the NT$48.2 billion difference between the DPP’s policy and the Examination Yuan’s proposal.

The proposal still needs to be approved by the Legislative Yuan before it takes effect.

DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) told reporters that the DPP caucus would never support such a scheme.

When fielding questions from Lai, Liu did not express support for or opposition to the plan, but said the Examination Yuan was trying to draw up a “more reasonable” pension scheme. He said the Executive Yuan had suggested that the Ministry of Civil Service under the Examination Yuan review the rationale behind the government’s current preferential interest rate for government officials’ pensions.

When asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the Examination Yuan’s proposal would only draw criticism from the public as the scheme “seemed unfair” to the general public.

KMT caucus secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔), however, defended the Examination Yuan, saying that Minister of Civil Service Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) had assured the caucus that it was incorrect to say that the government would have to pay an extra NT$48.2 billion if the proposal were passed.

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