A proposal by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) to slash NT$200 million (US$6.83 million) from the subsidies budget for lawmakers yesterday was given the cold shoulder by most of his party comrades.
Tsai recently proposed that nine subsidy payments of NT$1.7 million per year for each lawmaker be cut, saying they were not enshrined in the law.
At a meeting called by the 64-seat caucus to discuss Tsai’s proposal yesterday, only five lawmakers out of 49 present supported the idea.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
KMT Legislator Wang Jin-shih (王進士) opposed slashing the budget, citing as an example the transportation allowance, which Wang said was a necessary subsidy for lawmakers whose constituencies are in remote areas.
Referring to Tsai, Wang said: “There were people who were just claiming the moral high ground” and that “we can’t lump together sun and sundry.”
Tsai offered an apology to his party comrades for putting the proposal forward without prior consultation, but he insisted on “cutting the budget across the board flatly.”
Included in the nine subsidy payments were allowances of NT$320,000 for overseas trips, NT$57,600 for highway tolls, NT$314,880 for fuel expenses, NT$216,000 for housing, NT$420,000 for stationery, stamps and telecommunications fees, NT$240,000 for rented housing in constituencies, NT$42,000 for hosting events, NT$14,000 for health examinations and NT$100,000 for legislative research.
After the discussion, KMT caucus whip Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said the caucus would propose that the NT$216,000 for housing expenses and the NT$100,000 for legislative research be cut, adding it would further study the necessity of the nine subsidies before it finalizes its findings on how to reform the system by the end of today.
Pan-green legislators have not reached a consensus on the proposed subsidy cut; the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) supported the cut, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said it would finalize its position in a caucus meeting tomorrow.
TSU caucus whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said her party supported the proposal because the subsidies were not backed by law, adding it supported a complete review of all “unjust and unfair” government spending.
Unfair policies which favored specific groups have been a primary reason behind class conflict and ethnic divisions in the past, TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) added.
The DPP remained undecided on its position on the proposal, with lawmakers’ opinions divided.
Separately yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT chairman, called on the KMT caucus to review the subsidies and give a positive response to the public’s expectation of reforming the subsidy.
Ma said in a closed-door meeting with top party officials that the KMT should take the initiative and respond to calls for lawmakers to reduce the number of subsidies they have received.
“The KMT supports a reform in the subsidies and the party stance will not change,” said KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋), adding Ma has instructed KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) and KMT Policy Committee head Lin Hung-chi (林鴻池) to review the subsidies and present solutions immediately.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu