The Cabinet passed a draft bill of the Aboriginal self-government provisional act (原住民自治暫行條例) and proposed amendments to the Housing Act (住宅法) that would subsidize landlords who rent out properties to disabled or economically vulnerable groups at its weekly meeting yesterday.
Reintegrating older workers into the labor force and reinforcing the government’s interaction with the online world were also on the agenda for the new Cabinet.
The provisional act was said to be a step forward in the realization of Aboriginal self-government “in stages,” which is one of the imperatives of “a country of human rights,” Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said.
The legislature was unable to reach a consensus on the draft bill of the Aboriginal self-government act, Council of Indegenous Peoples Minister Mayaw Dongi (林江義) said, when asked about the difference between the act and the newly proposed provisional act.
“At least four times it went in [to the legislature for review] and was unable to pass,” he said. “In the [draft] provisional act, the articles about [the aboriginal people’s own] representative bodies, elections and finance have been removed” to limit the scope and raise the possibility of it passing legislative review.
Amendments proposed to the Housing Act are intended to encourage landlords to rent their property to socially vulnerable groups, Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said.
The revisions, if approved by the legislature, would offer a monthly tax-free NT$4,000 subsidy — for a five-year period — to “kind-hearted” landlords, Minister of the Interior Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) said.
Regarding doubts raised as to the effectiveness of the policy — it has been said that many landlords have not filed rental incomes as taxable income, and the application for benefits would expose this tax evasion — Chen said that it is unusual for landlords to dodge taxes, adding that the government would grant more tax exemptions for “kind-hearted” landlords should tax revenue increase.
The Executive Yuan is also to launch a plan to broaden the labor force by recruiting retirees back into the labor market, Sun said.
The shortage of labor has been due to the fact that people are entering the job market late, but leaving it early, Minister of Labor Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) said.
“The average retirement age in the country is 57. This can be attributed to a working environment unfriendly to older people, the soundness of our retirement system and an average life expectancy that is long enough that older people need to care for elderly people,” Chen said.
While the latter would require the assistance of the Ministry of Health and Welfare on a public long-term care system, he said, a working environment friendly to older workers with adjustments to work processes, content and schedule, would be part of the ministry’s plan for reincorporating the demographic into the labor force.
Meanwhile, since he was sworn in as premier, Mao has been putting an emphasis on communication with netizens, in what seems to be a lesson learned from the ruling party’s defeat in the recent elections.
Among the directives issued at the meeting, is making public government documents available online and helping young people initiate their own businesses through crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, Sun said.
Sun, in an attempt to create real-time interaction with netizens, responded to a question posed by a netizen in the chat room of the live-streaming press conference established by the Executive Yuan on YouTube.
The netizen suggested allowing ministers to make Facebook a communication platform, as Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) has done — which might have been an attempt at sarcasm, since Yeh was ridiculed for defending himself on the Facebook page of laid-off freeway toll collectors last month.
Sun said it is a personal decision for ministers to establish a Facebook account, “but it would be insufficient as an online communication platform if only Facebook is used.”
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