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Pension reform paralyzes Legislature and threatens arms budget

Pension reform paralyzes Legislature and threatens arms budget

The opposition pan-blue parties said Friday said they would halt cross-party talks with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after its lawmakers occupied the legislative floors and paralyzed the Legislature the entire day.
Kuomintang legislative leaders issued an apology to the nation Friday afternoon and blamed the lawmaking body's inactivity on what they called“irrational boycott”by their DPP colleagues.
DPP lawmakers took turn to occupy the podium and adopted other filibuster tactics to prevent a vote on an opposition motion that would reinstate the privileged interest rate on the pension savings deposits of retired civil servants and public school teachers.
The Examination Yuan abolished the interest rate of 18 percent in February this year in response to longstanding criticism by other groups saying the privilege violated the principle of fairness and justice. As the going rate for term deposits stands at two percent, the government has to fill in the discrepency in interest rate with tax dollars.
KMT legislative leader Tseng Yung-chuan said his caucus supported pension reform but believed that the matter should be regulated by law, instead of by Examination Yuan orders.
Tseng added that the government should approach the matter in a fashion consistent with President Chen Shui-bian's pledge that he would leave the disputed interest rate intact during his tenure.
Tsai Chin-lung, another KMT legislative leader, echoed the theme and urged the Examination Yuan to draft a pension reform bill without delay. Tsai said his caucus would give top priority to the legislation to end the dispute, and warned the DPP to brace for a protracted political battle if it persists to play hardball.
People First Party legislative leader Cheng Chin-ling said her caucus would also withdraw from all cross-party talks since the DPP has no interest in rational discussion of public issues.
Cheng said the ruling party is to blame if the 2007 budget and the arms procurement plan fail to clear the Legislature before the winter break. The current session is due to fold on January 19.
The Non-Partisan Solidarity Union said it would side with the KMT and PFP on the matter.


Updated : 2020-11-30 07:29 GMT+08:00