Estimated $7 million said to be shared as payouts, thanks to secret fund
By Alfred Sasako
IT’S Christmas come early for Ministers, Government Backbench MPs and some Opposition Members – thanks to Taiwan’s secret fund.
The lucky MPs shared an estimated $7 million, which the Office of the Prime Minister paid out last week, insiders told Island Sun last night.
The 21 Government Ministers and some backbench received $303, 000 each, while a selected number of Opposition MPs and some unlucky government backbench received only $87, 000 each, the insiders said.
“Not all in the Opposition received the payments either. Those who did were actually rewarded for supporting the Government in passing the amendment to the Constitution in respect of the new Electoral Act 2018,” one insider said.
“As you know the government did not have the number to pass the amendment. “Fortunately, some Opposition MPs made up the 38 MPs required to pass the amendment.
“The payment was a token of appreciation to them,” the insider said.
Successive governments and Taiwan have consistently denied the existence of the secret fund, which Taiwan usually pays out every year just before Christmas. No explanation was given for the early release of the fund this year.
The insider said the distribution of the funds is at the discretion of the Prime Minister. But whether the funds are intended for Constituencies remains a grey area.
A backlash by Government Ministers over the distribution of the secret funds in 2011 led to the ousting of former Prime Minister, Danny Philip in November of that year.
At the time, there was $13 million in the till.
The news of the payment to Government MPs is certain to infuriate many, particularly those who are still waiting to be paid.
One group is the team of workers who carried out voter registration work in the Constituencies.
These workers were paid 20 per cent of their allowances at the time they were engaged with promises the balance of 80 per cent would be paid at the conclusion of the voter registration exercise.
“This is the second week since the voter registration had ended and we are still waiting for our payment,” one frustrated worker told Island Sun.
“This is not good enough. We have family and other commitments to take care of,” he said.