Wed, Apr 22, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislators mixed on pension fund

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators yesterday gave mixed reviews to a proposal that the government provide pensions to retired lawmakers.

When approached for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said it was debatable whether legislators should be considered professionals. But she said the number of terms a lawmaker had served should be taken into consideration in any pension.

KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua (李慶華) said the government should only discuss a pension fund for legislators if it also intends to discourage legislators from holding other jobs.

“I have been a legislator for 17 or 18 years. I left my position as a teacher at National Chengchi University when I first ran for office,” Lee said. “I focus on legislative affairs and do not have any other job, so I have no idea how I will make a living after I retire.”

The lawmakers were responding to a bill proposed by KMT Legislator Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄) on Monday that would see the government subsidize a pension for legislators, with lawmakers covering the remaining costs.

Chiang said during a meeting of the Internal Administration Committee that legislators would receive a minimum of between NT$1 million (US$29,500) and NT$2 million after leaving the legislature under the pension system.

Chiang proposed the bill in response to recent media reports that former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Hsueh-fung (王雪峰) and her husband were living off of money earned by recycling after Wang finished her term.

KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) opposed the bill, saying politicians should not receive pensions from the government and lawmakers should develop their expertise.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Kao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said a pension for legislators was controversial because the public did not support it, making legislators reluctant to push for it.

He said many legislators had other careers, giving as an example his own work as a lawyer. Kao said he was not worried about making a living after leaving the legislature.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG

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