Thu, Nov 30, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Ma Ying-jeou just can't help himself

Children have long been taught in civic education classes that elections are held so that voters can select competent individuals to serve the common good.

It is saddening -- revolting, even -- that time and again adults present such a bad example to their children.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators recently called upon residents of Taipei and Kaohsiung to cast a vote of confidence in Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) "innocence" regarding the special allowance fund scandal in next month's mayoral and city council elections.

That suggestion was reportedly seconded by Ma himself, who doubles as KMT chairman.

By agreeing with this proposal, Ma brazenly demonstrated his lack of respect for the intelligence of voters in the nation's two biggest cities and his disregard for the development of the two metropolitan centers.

The purpose of holding election campaigns is to allow voters to scrutinize a candidate's integrity and platform and to determine which candidate can best serve the people.

Next month's Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections should therefore determine which candidate can best outline his or her vision for the cities and plan for their development.

It is difficult to understand what the Dec. 9 election has to do with a third party who isn't even a participant in the campaign. What does the Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections have to do with Ma's claim to integrity?

The KMT could do better by conserving its time and money and helping Taipei mayoral hopeful Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英) win votes.

Just because Ma's so-called image of cleanliness is on the brink of being spoiled over the alleged misuse of his special allowance fund does not mean that Taipei and Kaohsiung residents have to vouch for him at the expense of substantial discussion on their future welfare and that of their cities.

By echoing the suggestions of fellow party legislators, Ma, in a silly populist move, has sought to further polarize the electorate's pan-blue and pan-green camps.

It is ridiculous that Ma, who trumpets himself as a person "with the highest moral standards," should manipulate the forthcoming elections to further his interests.

Given his role as the leader of his party and mayor of Taipei, Ma should have the sense to assume responsibility for his actions instead of resorting to dubious tactics that can only have negative repercussions on the credibility of the elections.

The case of Ma's mishandling of his special allowance fund is being investigated by prosecutors. Ma should leave that topic alone rather than engage in political maneuvering.

One cannot say this often enough: Prosecutors should be left alone to do their job, and all forms of interference should be criticized as such.

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