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June 29, 2017

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KMT leaves year-end bonus loophole: DPP

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Kuomintang (KMT) is leaving room for bringing back year-end bonuses during election season, said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday.

During yesterday's cross-party negotiations, the KMT pushed through its bonus cuts proposal for retired civil servants, teachers and military personnel. Year-end bonuses will go out this year to pensioners receiving less than NT$20,000 a month, as well as to households of any government employee killed or injured on duty, according to the proposal.

The DPP does support disbursals to both categories of recipients, said the opposition party's legislative caucus after cross-party negotiations yesterday.

But the KMT proposal is only a "primary resolution" (主決議) on this year's budgetary bill, not a bill to amend law. Such a proposal leaves room for the government's year-end bonus program to be altered after a single fiscal year, possibly for election interests, said caucus whip Pan Meng-an (潘孟安).

DPP caucus Secretary-General Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) accused the KMT of purposefully misleading the public, touting reform while never intending to deliver.

"Disbursing more when there's an election? Is that your so-called reform toward justice?" said Tsai.

Later Monday, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said that the DPP was battling over a triviality.

Monday's cross-party negotiations were on the 2013 national government budget, so of course the KMT's primary resolutions focused on 2013, he said. During negotiations, the DPP had submitted its own proposals on the year-end bonus cuts, and all were also limited to 2013.

"The KMT has made it perfectly clear — the year-end bonus program must be institutionalized," Wu continued.

The KMT caucus will initiate the related bills to amend the law soon, and they welcome the DPP to do so as well, he said.

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