New so­cial wel­fare po­lit­i­cal party es­tab­lished

The China Post - - LOCAL -

A new po­lit­i­cal party, the So­cial Wel­fare Party (SWP, ), was es­tab­lished in Taipei yesterday to cam­paign for bet­ter so­cial wel­fare poli­cies, join­ing a wave of new and emerg­ing par­ties that are eye­ing seats in Tai­wan’s Leg­is­la­ture.

“The pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties has reached 1.14 mil­lion in Tai­wan and these peo­ple and their fam­i­lies ex­pect our care and sup­port,” Cheng Long-shui (

), chair­man of the party, said at a press con­fer­ence to an­nounce the es­tab­lish­ment of the SWP.

Cheng, a for­mer New Party ( ) leg­is­la­tor, said the So­cial Wel­fare Party is a sin­gle-is­sue party fo­cused solely on ad­vanc­ing so­cial wel­fare in Tai­wan.

The SWP aims to re­lax reg­u­la­tions so that for­eign care­givers can be hired to take care of all dis­abled peo­ple and se­nior cit­i­zens aged 70 and above, and im­prove the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and test­ing of ac­ces­si­ble en­vi­ron­ments for dis­abled peo­ple, Cheng said.

The party also sup­ports longterm care pro­grams for se­nior cit­i­zens and the re­moval of reg­is­tra­tion fees for dis­abled peo­ple and se­nior cit­i­zens at hos­pi­tals and clin­ics, Cheng said.

It also hopes to sub­si­dize care­giver costs for low-in­come fam­i­lies and peo­ple with se­vere dis­abil­i­ties, fund the pur­chas­ing of spe­cial needs equip­ment by dis­abled peo­ple, and pro­vide more ed­u­ca­tional and pro­fes­sional train­ing sub­si­dies to dis­abled peo­ple, he said.

Cheng said his party is ex­pected to an­nounce in late Oc­to­ber or early Novem­ber its list of can­di­dates for dis­trict and leg­is­la­tor-at-large seats in Tai­wan’s ninth leg­isla­tive elec­tions on Jan. 16, 2016.

“We have no plans to co­op­er­ate with any po­lit­i­cal par­ties at the mo­ment, but we in­vite all par­ties to work to­ward the goal of ad­vanc­ing so­cial wel­fare,” he said.

He said the SWP is aim­ing to win 15 per­cent of the valid votes in the leg­isla­tive elec­tions and five leg­is­la­tor-at-large seats in the 113-seat Leg­is­la­ture.

The vice chair­man of the party is Pai Hsiu-hsi­ung ( ), a for­mer deputy Taipei mayor. Its other core mem­bers in­clude Ku Yeun-wen (

), pro­fes­sor of so­cial work at Na­tional Tai­wan Univer­sity; Lin Chung-shan ( ), as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal science at Chi­nese Cul­ture Univer­sity; and advertising con­sul­tant Jerry Fan ( ).

In or­der to carry out the afore- men­tioned poli­cies with­out adding a bur­den to the gov­ern­ment bud­get, Cheng said, his party is propos­ing in­creas­ing the taxes on the rich, rais­ing the busi­ness tax by 1 per­cent and hik­ing the health and wel­fare sur­charge on to­bacco prod­ucts by NT$10 ( US$0.31) per packet of cig­a­rettes.

It is also propos­ing rais­ing the al­co­hol tax by 10 per­cent and al­lo­cat­ing half of the earn­ings from public wel­fare lot­ter­ies to so­cial wel­fare pro­grams, Cheng added.

On the ques­tion of whether his party will en­dorse any of the cur­rent pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, Cheng said only if they sup­port the SWP’s po­lices.

The SWP is likely to en­dorse any such can­di­dates be­fore the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in con­junc­tion with the leg­isla­tive elec­tions, he said.

“We want to let ev­ery­one know that ‘blue’ or ‘green’ are not the only op­tions for Tai­wan, ‘uni­fi­ca­tion’ or ‘in­de­pen­dence’ are not the only pos­si­bil­i­ties, and col­li­sion is not the only choice,” said Hsu Tao ( ), a univer­sity stu­dent and head of the party’s Youth League.

Hsu said his party hopes to “oc­cupy the Leg­is­la­ture with votes.”

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