Sun, Oct 30, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Ma shouldn't rely on the PFP

By Huang Jei-hsuan

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his party leadership team have let it be known that KMT legislators continue to block the arms procurement bill only in deference to the People First Party (PFP).

According to the KMT, the PFP has been threatening to side with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to help enact a law regulating political-party assets if the KMT backs away from supporting the PFP on the arms bill.

Notorious for its tradition of literally "buying" votes in close elections, the KMT considers its improperly acquired assets paramount to its survival.

On the other hand, blocking the arms purchase so that it can eventually disarm Taiwan is the KMT's ticket to gaining eternal trust from Beijing. This in turn, the party leadership hopes, would guarantee them perpetual power in Taiwan.

The KMT believes it's entitled to both. And that wishful thinking persists even after the change of party leadership from Lien Chan (連戰) to Ma.

But compared to Lien, Ma is more of a polished politician. His dexterity at shifting the blame and maintaining a clean image has earned him the title of the "non-stick" politician.

For instance, before meeting with PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) on the matter of the arms bill, he first met with Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and hinted broadly at a possible resolution to the impasse. The public was elated at the prospect of seeing an end to one of the most contentious issues in the history of the nation's democracy. They praised Ma's "reasonable" stance in contrast to Lien's intransigence.

However, upon meeting with Soong, Ma immediately withdrew his support for lifting the blockade of the arms bill, citing the PFP's aforementioned threat.

The point is that Ma knew beforehand that Soong vehemently opposed the arms bill and that the meeting would end up giving him the excuse to transfer the responsibility.

Therefore the KMT's explanation, and the version bought by most people -- that it is being "blackmailed" by the PFP -- is not only self-serving but also consistent with Ma's "non-stick" image.

What's equally amazing is that the PFP is expanding the scope of its political cover for Ma and company. It is now taking the initiative to introduce some very controversial and divisive bills in the Legislative Yuan.

Among them, what would certainly incur the wrath of the Taiwanese people would be the draft "cross-strait peace advancement bill." Using this, pan-blue leaders are conspiring to wrest the power to negotiate cross-strait issues from President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) government, outlaw formal sovereignty aspirations and embark formally on the path toward eventual "unification," even though many of the notions proposed appear to be unconstitutional.

Nonetheless, the process of establishing the law established would allow the KMT to press ahead with creating chaos in the Legislative Yuan that, in this particular case, might even ominously portend tumult among the general public -- as well as paralysis in Chen's government. If anything, Ma is speeding up the KMT's assault on Taiwan's democracy while letting the PFP assume the lion's share of the blame.

What's equally troublesome is his expressed design -- or lack of it except for a brief and vague reference to a "zones" concept -- on the cross-strait issue.

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