Government determined to continue reforms: Ma

COMFORTING WORDS::During a visit to Matsu, Ma said the government would protect minority groups and veterans while pursuing further pension reform

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - Page 3

The government will present a pension reform plan by the end of this month after holding 124 forums with government employees and retired civil servants, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said.

Ma, who is also KMT chairman, visited Matsu yesterday accompanied by KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權), Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) and Minister Without Portfolio Hsueh Cherng-tay (薛承泰), and presided over a meeting with local party delegates.

The issue of pension reform measures was raised during the meeting, as many delegates expressed concerns about the slashing of year-end bonuses for retired government employees and other benefits for civil servants.

Ma said that the government is determined to continue pension reform, and added that the Executive Yuan is to present its pension reform plan by the end of this year to prevent the bankruptcy of the national pension funds. The plan will be presented to the Legislative Yuan for legislation.

“This is a particularly thorough legislation process because the proposed pension program will affect the public, and I expect it to be completed under a consensus,” he said.

Government statistics show that without reform, the nation’s four major pension funds will go bankrupt within two decades, with the military personnel pension program in danger of becoming insolvent in 2017, the public school teachers’ pension fund in 2027, the Public Service Pension Fund in 2028 and the Labor Insurance Fund in 2031.

The Executive Yuan and the Control Yuan have held 124 public forums to explain the pension reform plans and gather feedback from the public before presenting a “reasonable and fair” pension system.

Ma said that the government will proceed with the pension reforms while protecting minority groups and taking care of veterans who have served the country.

Outside the forum, a group of Matsu residents organized a petition urging the government to promote the establishment of a casino industry on the islands as soon as possible.

Residents voted in favor of the construction of a casino resort on the outlying islands in July last year in a closely watched referendum. The result opened the door to the establishment of legal gambling.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications drafted regulations on the gambling industry in July last year, but has not completed the legislation of the regulation yet.

Ma said he had taken note of residents’ requests for the government to develop of the gambling industry, but did not give a timetable for the legislation of related regulations.