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Talk of the Day -- Parties ready to slash legislators' allowances

Talk of the Day -- Parties ready to slash legislators' allowances

The country's political parties, which rarely see eye to eye, seemed to agree Monday on the issue of slashing legislators' allowances. The issue was first broached by Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), who said several days ago that nine allowances granted to lawmakers are not stipulated in law and should be cancelled altogether, as the country is facing an unprecedented financial crisis. Tsai's claims created a reaction among the general public, as the lawmakers have just forced the Executive Yuan to stop paying end-year bonuses to the country's retired government employees on the grounds that that they are also not stipulated in law. By the same token, the mass media outlets said, the legislature should cut their own allowances. The following are excepts of local media coverage of the issue: United Daily News: President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, has asked KMT lawmakers to study the legality of the allowances and has promised to come up with comprehensive measures to address the problem. In line with Ma's instructions, the KMT caucus has suggested canceling only allowances for accommodation and research, which is just NT$316,000 (US$10,786), or 18 percent of the total allowance of NT$1.72 million per legislator per year. Meanwhile opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang said the allowances should be reviewed from the aspect of law and dropped if they are not provided under the law. However, the DPP has not yet worked out a plan to this end. Legislator Pan Men-an, the leader of the party's legislative caucus, said DPP lawmakers will meet later in the week to formulate a response. (Oct. 29, 2012) China Times: Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng disputed Monday Tsai's claim that the allowances are not grounded in law, saying that the budget for such allowances were compiled according to the law and approved by the Legislative Yuan. Citing the organic law of the legislature and the law governing the behavior of lawmakers, Wang said the law provides that lawmakers should enjoy the same treatment as ministers of state and should be allowed to hire eight to 14 aides, paid for by the taxpayer. However, Wang said the rationality of these allowances is subject to public scrutiny even though they are based on law. His remarks drew fire from Yok Mu-ming, chairman of the minor opposition New Party, who said the allowances are legal only because they are based on laws enacted by the legislators for their own benefit.(Oct. 30, 2012) (By Maubo Chang)


Updated : 2021-04-17 18:51 GMT+08:00