It has been less than six months since Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
On Tuesday Ma announced that the KMT is in "extremely dire financial straits" and could not pay its employees their year-end bonuses.
The party backtracked late on Tuesday night and announced that it would pay bonuses amounting to half-a-month's salary -- thanks to a front page story in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) -- sometime next month. While KMT union director Liu Chien-sung (
That is the first question that Ma should be made to answer. The second question is if Ma, who prides himself on being a party reformer, can't resolve the KMT financial puzzle, then why should anyone believe that he is either willing or able to clean up the party's stained reputation by eradicating its "black gold" problem?
Maybe the party really does have financial difficulties. KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (
Yet it is business as usual for the party's top brass. Despite forcing early retirement on many people, and delaying the miserly bonus it grudgingly agreed to pay, the KMT headquarters had the gall to ask its staffers to entertain the top-ranking party officials at last night's year-end party.
This meshes with the continued deafness of both Ma and the party to calls to return those stolen assets that once belonged to the government -- either transferred to the party at no cost by the KMT government when the Republic of China took over Taiwan at the end of World War II, or purchased later by the KMT with money provided by the government.
Who else is too blind to see the motive behind the pan-blue camp's long-running boycott of a proposed statute on the disposal of assets improperly obtained by political parties?
"Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself," IBM founder Thomas Watson once said.
If ambiguity and mendacity are the way Ma conducts himself with regard to the KMT's financial affairs, and insensitivity and callousness inform his treatment of party staffers, perhaps pan-blue supporters should reconsider their belief that Ma is the man who will lead a return to the promised land -- the Presidential Office -- in 2008.