Sun, Nov 09, 2014 - Page 2 News List

2014 ELECTIONS: Lien Chan stumps for son, supports bonus

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday characterized the Taipei mayoral election as a battle essential to the future of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Republic of China (ROC) as he stumped for his son, KMT Taipei mayoral candidate Sean Lien (連勝文).

Speaking to members of an association formed to urge the government to expand the payment of year-end bonuses to retired military personnel, civil servants and teachers by raising the income threshold, Lien Chan urged them to solicit more votes for Sean Lien from their relatives, friends, colleagues or anyone they can influence.

“There is not much time left,” while Sean Lien is still lagging independent candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in the polls, Lien Chan said yesterday, three weeks before the election on Nov. 29. “We need to work harder.”

Lien Chan told the audience, who he said always volunteer to help meet the needs of the KMT and the ROC, that only when they can keep the KMT at the helm of the capital city can they defend the KMT and the ROC.

“Voting for Sean Lien is voting for the KMT and for the ROC,” Lien Chan said.

Pressed by the association, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) in August overruled his previous decision made in December 2012 that limited the recipients of year-end bonuses to retired military personnel, civil servants and teachers who receive monthly retirement pensions of less than NT$20,000 and agreed to expand the coverage to the retirees with monthly pensions of less than NT$25,000.

The year-end bonus, equivalent to 1.5 months of each of the retirees’ pre-retirement salary, cost the government NT$20.2 billion (US$659 million) when all the about 445,000 retirees from the military, the government, public schools and state-owned enterprises were all eligible for the benefits.

Along with families of deceased retirees and retirees who were killed, injured or disabled in war, on military exercises or on duty who were not subject to the qualification criteria introduced in the 2012 proposal, the number of qualified recipients under the revised scheme was about 42,000. That slashed the yearly budget needed for the bonus to about NT$1.18 billion.

Dissatisfied with Jiang’s decision in August, the association led by former Examination Yuan secretary-general Lin Shui-chi (林水吉) and former KMT lawmaker Liu Sheng-liang (劉盛良) turned the group into a support group for Sean Lien on Friday and urged him and the KMT to scrap the criteria altogether.

“I have strongly disapproved of the [2012] proposal,” Lien Chan said as he cast doubt on President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of the issue at that time.

“The problem needed to be addressed. Some KMT lawmakers have been working on it. I believe that what you are hoping for will come true,” he said.

Sean Lien said the contributions made by the group of military personnel, civil servants and teachers to the ROC has long been highly recognized

He added that if he were elected, he would argue strongly in support of their appeals.

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