Year-end donation pledge puts Cabinet ministers under pressure to follow suit

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 - Page 3

National Youth Commission Minister Chen Yi-chen’s (陳以真) comment that she would donate her year-end bonus to charity put some fellow Cabinet members in an awkward position in the legislature yesterday as they were asked if they would follow suit.

While fielding questions from lawmakers on the Education and Culture Committee on Monday about whether she would donate her year-end bonus at a time when the nation is experiencing a steep economic slowdown, Chen said she would like to help young people with the bonus, which is estimated at NT$261,937.

Prior to attending yesterday’s question-and-answer session at the legislature, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said he would respect the Cabinet members’ individual decisions on their bonuses.

“I respect the way each member of the Cabinet deals with their year-end bonus,” he said in response to media inquiries.

“My understanding is that many of them make donations regularly, not necessarily their year-end bonus,” he said, adding that he donates to charities several times a year.

Asked the same question prior to the legislative session, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) responded with a sigh, saying the choice is Chen Yi-chen’s own to make.

Pressed on whether she would follow suit, Lung said: “We should all really focus on more important things.”

The issue arose again during the legislative session, when some economic officials were asked by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) whether they would emulate Chen Yi-chen.

Cheng asked Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) the question three times and each time Yiin repeated “I respect [Chen Yi-chen’s] decision.”

Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) told Cheng he respected “any decision when the legislature has one,” while Council of Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei (潘世偉) said “I respect the system.”