Ma to revise rules on 18 percent interest rate

The China Post News staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou has decided to modify the current 18-percent preferential interest rate for retired government employee deposits under the principles of fairness and equality. Ma instructed the headquarters of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) to coordinate with the party’s legislative caucus to revise the regulations. Lo Chih-chiang, spokesman at the Presidential Office, said the president has set certain criteria under the principles of excluding former civil servants from the preferential interest payments if they have certain assets or can maintain an affluent lifestyle. At least some former senior officials who have held high positions with more handsome salaries will be ineligible for the generous interest rate, according to an initial plan.

Lo said President Ma has gained the impression that there are generally negative views against the hefty interest rate and payments for former public servants based on what he has seen and heard about the controversial issue.

There have been increasingly heated debates on the Internet about whether retired members of the civil service should be given the 18 percent interest payment while the majority of depositors in Taiwan currently draw meager interest payments with an annual rate of only slightly over 1 percent.

Lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and their supporters have also intensified attacks on the current system of favoring former government employees over other citizens.