Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - Page 3 News List

KMT questions benefits to public of service pact

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday questioned what they said could be the unjust distribution of the wealth and benefits the government has been promoting under the cross-strait service trade agreement.

KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛), during a question-and-answer session with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) on the legislative floor, urged the administration to explain to the public “how they can win in a free market” instead of repeatedly asking them “not to be afraid of losing in the competition.”

Jiang responded that seclusion would only hurt the nation’s competitiveness, repeating that Taiwan is “fairly strong in the service industry and should not be afraid of liberalization.”

Chiang said the distribution of the benefits of the service pact touted by the government does not favor the general public.

“The administration keeps saying that there are more upsides than downsides, but all the public can see is the benefits being raked in by big enterprises,” he said.

“It is only when the government is recognized by the people as having the ability to redistribute those benefits, can the public believe that the upsides [of the pact] are greater than the downsides,” he said.

KMT Legislator Lin Kuo-cheng (林國正) also criticized the government over the unjust distribution of wealth in the country.

While in the past 15 years the country’s average GDP growth was in good shape at 3.87 percent, higher than the world’s average of 2.77 percent, “the growth in real wages has halted and even been reversed,” Lin said, adding that this was what had driven the student protest movement.

“Young people can only see a bleak future, with more than 1 million young people currently paying off their tuition loans,” he said.

“According to official statistics, the average monthly salary of those aged 25 to 29, several years after graduating, was NT$31,000 last year. Yet the monthly wage of as many as 51 percent fell short of that amount; 83 percent of them earned less than NT$40,000 per month,” he added.

“House price to income ratio in the country as a whole has risen to 8.2 last year from 3.91 in 2002. In Taipei, the figure is 15.01 and it was 5.4 in 2002,” Lin said.

“President Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] and the government are still trapped by the myth of GDP growth when the young are suffering, unlike their counterparts in other Asian tigers, from stagnant wage growth and an inability to buy their own houses,” he said.

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