Mon, Nov 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Legislators call for special interest rate accounts inspection

By Lee Yu-hsin and Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporters

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元) yesterday said first-session senior government representatives — also known as the “10,000-year Congress” (萬年國會) — not only enjoy year-end bonuses and an 18 percent preferential interest rate account, but some of them have more than one such account.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Service and the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA), as of the end of August, there were 36 members of the first-session senior central government, but 50 preferential accounts, the legislators said.

Ministry officials said that these senior representatives had been forced to retire to make way for a general election, which is why some of them have more than one account and why the accounts have no maximum savings limit.

These senior government representatives are former National Assembly members, legislators and Examination Yuan members elected in 1947. Under the political system at the time, by-elections were held only once, in 1969. Because re-elections were not held for a long time, the officials were given the nickname “the 10,000-year Congress” by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德).

The “10,000-year Congress” became part of history and the senior representatives were forced to retire when the second session of legislators and National Assembly members were elected through a general election in 1992.

Pan and Lee said that although the law allows the senior representatives to have an 18 percent preferential interest rate account, it does not allow a person to have two of these accounts.

They called for an urgent and comprehensive review of the situation and for the elimination of unreasonable expenditures.

According to the Statute for Voluntary Retirement of First Senior Central Government Representatives (第一屆資深中央民意代表自願退職條例) enacted in 1989, members employed for less than 15 years are entitled to a one-time retirement pension (which can be deposited into the special account), while members employed for longer than 15 years can choose from a one-time retirement pension bonus, a monthly pension or half of each.

The number of these senior representatives is decreasing as they pass away, but the central government has set aside a more than NT$31 million (US$1.06 million) budget to subsidize the 18 percent preferential interest rate of these people’s accounts, Lee said.

It is very unreasonable for some of the senior representatives to have multiple accounts when the preferential interest rate has already levied a heavy economic burden on the nation, Lee said.

Pan said that while the government is now conducting a full-scale review on the pensions of retired civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers, the welfare of these senior representatives should also be reviewed to dismiss the duplicated preferential accounts and unreasonable expenditure.

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