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May 26, 2017

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Pension bill review delayed to May

President Tsai Ing-wen administration's pension reform efforts ran into a new roadblock Wednesday, with a legislative committee announcing that the review of reform bills would be halted until at least May so that two public hearings could be held on the issue.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had started the day planning for the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee to review bills for pension reform.

However, as the Pension Reform Oversight Alliance protested outside, opposition Kuomintang (KMT) members of the committee called for the committee to conduct public hearings over the proposed reform bills before organizing reviews.

The KMT lawmakers said that those whose income and standard of living would be seriously affected by the bills had a right to have their voices heard by the committee.

The suggestion was heard by DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang, who then announced a break to the meeting to allow bipartisan negotiations on the proposal.

The two sides eventually agreed for the committee to hold two public hearings on Wednesday and Thursday next week, which will be centered on reform bills targeting public servants and educators, respectively.

The hearings will push back the bills' review to May 1 at the earliest.

Previous public hearings held under the Tsai administration have proved highly volatile, with many shut down after attendees became raucous and even violent, as in the case of meetings held to discuss food imports from radiation-affected areas in Japan.

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