Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文) yesterday blasted the opposition-controlled Legislature for its decision to freeze much of its annual budget, saying that the decision has undermined his administration's independent operations and efforts to rationalize pensions for civil servants.
Yao, the head of one of Taiwan's five government branches, said his administration will consult with the Executive Yuan before deciding whether to ask the Legislature to reconsider its decision.
Ending weeks of bickering and haggling, the Legislature passed on Thursday the fiscal budget for 2006, cutting some NT$35 billion and freezing another NT$246 billion, including two thirds of the Examination Yuan's operational funds, except for those covering personnel costs.
Yao stressed that his administration was entrusted by the Constitution to study and improve various pension programs for retired civil servants, such as ending an 18 percent interest rate on the deposits of their pensions, a move that is scheduled to be put into force on February 16.
Yao dismissed allegations that many of his administration's programs were politically motivated, saying that all of them have been carefully assessed and fully discussed by officials and experts from all walks of life.
Opposition lawmakers froze the Examination Yuan's budget on the ground that its reform programs are unconstitutional and detrimental to the rights and interests of retired civil servants.
They demanded that the Examination Yuan fully communicate with the people in order to arrive at a consensus and seek legal authorization before carrying out programs involving people's rights and interests.
Yao warned that his administration would not be able to hold civil service examinations to recruit civil servants because of a lack of operational funds. The Legislature should be held responsible for interfering with the people's rights to work for government, which is also a violation of the Constitution, he said.
Without those operational funds, the Examination Yuan's foundation governing pensions and health insurance for retired servicemen can no longer function, thus affecting the livelihood of some 700,000 retired civil servants and their family members, Yao said.
Meanwhile, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) also expressed his regret at the Legislature's decision to freeze part of the Wxamination Yuan's budget and slash other budget items while calling on Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), in a goodwill gesture, to thank Wang and his colleagues for their hard work in facilitating the passage of many important bills during the last legislative session.
Hsieh said his administration is studying the possibility of asking the Legislature to reconsider its cuts on some budget items that may affect national security, economic development, and political reforms.