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Ma to meet with gov't heads Wed. to look for annuity issue solution

The annuity issue should be solved under the governmental framework, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said yesterday, adding that President Ma Ying-jeou will meet with the heads of the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan and the Examination Yuan on Wednesday to discuss related issues.

Fan Chiang also reiterated that there is no need to organize a large-scale conference outside of the governmental system to solve the matter.

Premier Sean Chen promised in mid-October to come up with a feasible reform plan for the labor insurance program within three months, Fan Chiang said.

Retirement benefits of public sector workers and the finances of related funds fall within the responsibility of the Examination Yuan, while budgetary and statutory bills require the further examination and approval of the Legislative Yuan, the spokesman added.

Fan Chiang went on to say that the president will meet with the premier, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Examination Yuan President Kuan Chung (關中) in the near future to establish reform guidelines.

With regard to the Democratic Progressive Party's proposal for a national conference on reform, the spokesman said that the annuity issue involves legal amendments, and that related proposals must be initiated by the Cabinet and the Examination Yuan, and that the Legislature's approval is ultimately also required; therefore, the matter should be dealt with under the governmental framework; there is no need for a national conference.

Even if a national conference were to be held and a conclusion were to be reached, related proposals would still need to pass through the Legislature, the Cabinet and the Examination Yuan in order for them to take effect, Fan Chiang said, adding that a national conference would not only be unnecessary but also a waste of time.

If more disputes arise because of this unnecessary procedure, the cause of reform would not be helped, Fan Chiang said.

The spokesman went on to say that the president will take concrete action and ask the Cabinet, the Legislative and the Examination Yuan to work together in order to effectively implement reform.

On another note, Fan Chiang said that although both the former and current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairpersons have declined Ma's offer for a meeting, the invitation is still valid.

The president is more than happy to discuss matters of national importance with the leaders of the opposition, the spokesman reiterated.

Dissent within Ruling Party on Cabinet's Annuity Proposal

According to local reports, several Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers have expressed strong disapproval of the Executive Yuan's proposed changes to the annual year-end bonuses given out to retired public sector workers, arguing that while the issue has grown into a wildfire among the public, the Cabinet remains indifferent to the calls of the people.

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