OPPOSITION RIFT?：The Chinese Nationalist Party said that the Democratic Progressive Party skirted reforms offered by the Taiwan Solidarity Union
By Loa Iok-sin / Staff reporter
Sun, Jan 25, 2015 - Page 3
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking his promises to reform the national retirement pension program, as the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) blocked reform proposals at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Friday.
“Ma’s government has been talking about reforms in the national retirement pension plan for two years, but the reform went back to how the plan originally was yesterday,” DPP spokesperson Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) said yesterday.
“The DPP condemns the KMT because it is concerned only with its political interests, despite the financial crisis that the nation faces and intergenerational injustices,” Cheng added.
Cheng added that retirement pension reforms are a must, as government finances are in trouble, “because the nation’s economy is suffering under the KMT government.”
Retired government employees are entitled to a year-end bonus in addition to their regular monthly retirement pensions, a policy that has been widely criticized. Ma proposed to reform the policy to increase fairness and to cut government expenses.
However, the original announcement triggered protests from public servants — mostly KMT supporters — who threatened to boycott the party in future elections.
Although the government eventually came up with a compromise plan to keep a year-end bonus for those whose monthly pension is less than NT$20,000 (US$639), government employees continued to protest the proposal.
In the government’s final version, the threshold was raised to NT$25,000, which swelled the administration’s budget by NT$900 million, as the qualifying pension increased from NT$40,000 to more than NT$70,000.
Cheng also responded to a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News that the DPP opposed a pension reform proposal from the Taiwan Solidarity Union that would cancel the 18 percent savings interest rate for public servants, end special allowances for the president and ministers, and drop the year-end bonus for retired government employees.
“The DPP has proposed its own well-considered reform plan for retirement pensions; of course legislators affiliated with the party would support our own proposal and not another party’s,” Cheng said.
“We regret that the newspaper did not report the news in full and mistakenly guided readers to believe that the DPP holds the same view as the KMT,” Cheng said. “We urge it to make corrections.”