Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cabinet mulling fine rather than no pension for veterans, ex-officials

Cabinet mulling fine rather than no pension for veterans, ex-officials

ALLEGIANCE?Pan-green lawmakers said that a maximum fine of NT$50,000, instead of pension revocation, would not deter ex-officials from joining China’s political activities

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter
Lawmakers yesterday voiced concern over a media report that the Executive Yuan was considering a monetary fine instead of suspension of pensions as a disciplinary measure for retired military and government officials engaging in political activities in China.
In the wake of the controversial participation of 32 retired high-ranking military officials in a Chinese commemoration event in November in which Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) gave a speech, the Executive Yuan has been drafting measures — including suspension of pensions and revocation of awards and medals — to prevent former officials who had access to government secrets from engaging in sensitive activities in China.
However, according to a report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily, the Executive Yuan plans to propose a lighter punishment for officials violating travel restrictions to a monetary fine of between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000, with retired military officials ranked lieutenant general or above subject to a permanent travel approval process.
High-ranking non-military officers are currently banned from travel for one to three years after retirement. The Cabinet is mulling a fixed three-year travel ban on those officials, with their former agencies deciding whether to extend the ban after three years, the report said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), one of the lawmakers who proposed an amendment that would cancel pensions for retired civil servants and military personnel participating in political activities in China, said the fine would be too lenient to deter such participation.
“The [minimum] fine of NT$10,000, which costs less than the price of a flight [to China], is disproportionate to the size of retired generals’ monthly pensions of between NT$100,000 and NT$200,000. Only a 10-year pension suspension will suffice to effectively deter them,” Liu said.
She urged the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to clarify its stance on the issue in order to reach a bipartisan agreement on the amendment, but the KMT is unwilling to offend party members with a military background ahead of the coming party chairperson election.
KMT Legislator Lee Yan-hsiu (李彥秀) said the government should commit itself to strengthening retired officials’ identification with Taiwan, and they should be allowed to attend cultural events in China without being suspected of leaking national secrets.
New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that pension revocation is necessary to deter retired officials.
“Both carrots and sticks have to be used to constrain their behavior. The government has to take the issue seriously with the Liaoning [Chinese aircraft carrier] posing an external threat and retired military officials posing an internal threat to national security,” Hsu said, referring to the controversial passage of the Chinese aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait last week.
Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said the monetary fine is an alternative proposal under discussion, but the Cabinet has yet to reach a final decision on the disciplinary measure.

No comments:

Post a Comment