Offer by President Ma to give up special 18% rate leaves DPP cold
By Enru Lin,The China Post
January 31, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou's offer to forego his own 18-percent preferential interest rate got a cold reception from the major opposition party yesterday.
Earlier yesterday, the president unveiled a plan aimed at reforming Taiwan's deficit-turning pension program. He also made a personal pledge to give up the 18-percent interest rate that he is entitled to upon retirement.
"Does that mean the 18-percent preferential interest rate still exists?" responded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang.
At the party's Taipei headquarters, Su released the DPP's own proposal for pension reform, which terminates the savings rate benefit for civil servants.
"The people are concerned about the pension system as a whole ... not about whether the president takes the lead on his 18 percent," said Su.
Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen also downplayed Ma's pledge.
"Whether he receives his 18 percent is purely a personal matter. What's more important is that as Taiwan's president, he must assume the responsibility of pension reform and make sure that the pension reform takes care of everyone," she said.
According to Tsai, Ma's proposed reform lacks vision for Taiwan's financial sustainability, and fails to address problems such as generational inequity and the gap between the private and public sectors.
"It's looking like no party is satisfied, and each has a sense of relative deprivation," she said, adding that this is an opportune moment for Ma to open a national affairs conference over pension reform.
"Everyone in society should discuss the various proposals and build a consensus to the greatest extent possible," said Tsai.
Retirement at 65
The DPP briefed media on its own pension reform draft — the "social solidarity plan" — yesterday at the Taipei headquarters.
"Taiwan's reformed pension system ought to act like a barrel hoop that holds the people in solidarity," said Su at the release event.
To level out social conditions, the DPP advocates setting the minimum retirement age for employees in the private and public sectors at 65.