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DPP eyes president, VP and officials with salary cut plan

The China Post--Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) and Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) yesterday said that the party will initiate a proposal to cut the salaries of the president, vice president, premier and ministers by half when economic growth is lower than 3 percent for two consecutive quarters or the unemployment rate is above 4 percent for two consecutive months. Such proposals have been opposed by the caucus of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT).

The DPP's proposal came after a motion initiated by KMT Legislator Liao Cheng-ching (廖正井) and passed by the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee of the Legislative Yuan on Oct. 3. The motion stated that if economic conditions in the coming three months are still defined as sluggish by the Council for Economic Planning and Development, the president, vice president and government officials appointed by the president and the premier should not receive any year-end bonuses.

Earlier yesterday, commenting on Liao's motion, Premier Sean Chen stated that if any measure was to be taken, or if any government policy fails in the future, he is the sole person to be responsible.

The conditions set by DPP for its draft are the same as those set by the Cabinet to adjust the minimum wage. Tsai said all government officials listed in the proposal should be subject to a salary cut if they fail to achieve the threshold set for the minimum wage hike.

Tsai said that the government should be responsible for the dire economic condition, instead of punishing workers for its failure.

Pan criticized the president for raising the salaries of government officials by 3 percent last year without considering the financial difficulties faced by Taiwan. Furthermore, he voiced disagreement with the premier's rejection of the minimum wage hike decided on by the Council of Labor Affairs and a wide range of representatives, stating that this decision would destroy a long-standing wage adjustment mechanism. He urged KMT legislators to support the DPP's proposal and stand on the side of workers.

Taiwan Solidarity Union whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) described Liao's proposal as “very reasonable.”

Huang said that government officials should give away their salaries voluntarily if the economic conditions do not improve, instead of waiting for legislators to make proposals.

Opposition from KMT

KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇), however, stated that the party would not support the DPP's proposal. Wu criticized the opposition's actions as irrational and politically motivated. Government officials have their families to take care of, just like other citizens, Wu said.

Fellow ruling party Legislator Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) said that the blame for the economic downturn should not just fall on the central government. According to him, local governments and representatives should all take responsibility.

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