Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Wu Den-yih touts issuing vouchers to retired workers

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih prays for Taiwan and its people at the Lantern Festival at ZhinanTemple in Taipei’s Wenshan District.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday proposed that the government issue consumer vouchers to make up for the financial losses sustained by retired public-sector workers due to pension reform, in another perceived move to pave the way for a potential presidential bid.

Wu made the remarks on the sidelines of a visit to Taipei’s Zhinan Temple (指南宮), when he mentioned pledges made by him and other candidates running for the KMT chairmanship in 2017 to re-evaluate President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) pension reforms if the KMT returns to power.

“Many people have suggested that instead of reversing the pension reforms, the government should issue consumer vouchers for the same value as the amount of pension cuts suffered,” Wu said.

Doing so would help boost the nation’s economic momentum, he said, urging the government to give the idea “some serious thought.”

The government’s pension reforms for retired military personnel cleared the legislative floor in June last year following the passage of its reform bills for retired civil servants and public-school teachers in June 2017.

The reforms gradually reduce the groups’ oft-criticized high income replacement ratio, with the controversial 18 percent preferential interest rate for savings accounts being phased out over two-and-a-half years for retired civil servants and public-school teachers and 10 years for retired military personnel.

Public-sector workers have traditionally been seen as more inclined to identify with the pan-blue camp.

The KMT chairman yesterday also faced questions about his proposal on Monday that the party’s next presidential candidate should be selected via a combination of a public opinion poll and party member survey, with the results weighing 50 percent each.

The party’s traditional primary mechanism would see the public opinion poll and party member survey account for 70 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Wu’s proposal came just days after his earlier idea, that the KMT’s presidential nomination process should be decided solely by the party’s members, sparked debate about its fairness and whether it was designed so that Wu would win the primary.

Many KMT members are urging the party to determine its next presidential candidate only through a public opinion poll to ensure that the candidate’s popularity is high.

Wu said some people had also brought up the “50-50 proposal” to seek a balance between public opinion and party members’ views.

“A survey among all KMT members represents the collective will of the party, but voters are also the bosses and that is why we should also factor in the results of a public opinion poll, as long as it is carried out in a fair and objective manner,” Wu said.

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