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Fines don't target public servants: MOI

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government is not targeting only public servants when levying fines on people who fail to pay National Pension fees (國民年金) for their spouses, a senior official Ministry of Interior (MOI) said yesterday.

“We are not focusing on civil servants, we are simply asking all of those who are considerably wealthy yet fail to pay the pension for their spouses to do so as they should,” Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said yesterday.

Lee made the remark when asked to comment on local media reports that the MOI has fined violators who have not paid the fees since the National Pension Act came into effect in October 2008.

Among those who have been fined include public servants and those who have annual incomes of more than NT$1 million, according to local reports yesterday. Some public servants denounced the policy as discriminatory.

According to the act, if an insured person cannot afford the insurance fees, their spouses are required to pay. In accordance with the act, failure to comply may lead to fines ranging from NT$3,000-NT$15,000.

Speaking yesterday to reporters, Lee said that according to the MOI's latest survey around 200 to 300 people have been found in violation of the regulation.

These violators commonly argue that their spouses are relatively wealthy and can afford to pay the fee, he added.

The minister said it is the government's duty to provide financial aid to people who encounter difficulties and cannot pay the pension fees.

But those who are capable of paying the money but deliberately choose not to do so should be punished, he noted.

The MOI announced earlier this month that a total of 59 people will be fined shortly due to their failure to pay National Pension fees for their spouses.

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