Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) has announced that she plans to support Premier Sean Chen’s (陳冲) plan on year-end bonuses for retired civil servants and public workers today.
Most Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers oppose Chen’s plan, which would cut 90 percent of the original budget allocation for the bonuses to quell the public outrage that has arisen against the bonuses in light of the nation’s financial situation.
Chen announced on Oct. 23 that the Cabinet would cut the number of retired government employees who are qualified to receive a year-end bonus to two categories of people, bringing down the cost to less than one-10th of the original NT$20.2 billion (US$690 million) budget.
President Ma Ying-jeou and the majority of the KMT lauded the plan, but several KMT legislators have been mulling making revisions to the plan that would make the tightening of qualification criteria less harsh, citing pressure from their constituents.
Kuan said that she planned to table a proposal almost identical to Chen’s and hoped to win inter-party support, adding that KMT lawmakers Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) have already pledged their support.
The lawmaker said it was “very embarrassing” for her to support Chen’s proposal because the opposition is not obligated to resolve the ruling party’s internal scuffles, but she decided to go ahead with the proposal for the sake of the nation’s fiscal situation, and to promote fairness and justice.
The KMT caucus is struggling to determine the final version of its proposal with the one made by KMT Legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉), which would increase the number of recipients from 40,000 to more than 400,000, favored to get the nod.
In response to a media inquiry yesterday, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she would be disappointed with the Executive Yuan if it overturned its own proposal because of some KMT lawmakers’ opposition, because flipping back and forth on an important issue like this would discredit the government.
Tsai warned the administration about risking damaging its credibility by mishandling the issue, saying that “it should bear in mind that people have already lowered their expectations of the government.”