Mon, Mar 24, 2008 - Page 8 News List

Some suggestions for Ma Ying-jeou

By Bruce Jacobs 家博

Rather, Ma should appoint a younger Taiwan-centric, reformist administrator as premier. One such person would be Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫), who has led a large county and implemented a reformist strategy. Chu speaks excellent English, has traveled widely and would present an excellent face for Taiwan to the world. In addition, domestically he would push reform in Taiwan's bureaucratic administrative system. Provided he is healthy, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) might be another possible premier.

In the KMT itself, Ma must also push reform. For example, he must implement separation of the party and government. Thus, the president and Cabinet ministers should not be members of the KMT's Central Standing Committee. Such reforms are essential to reforming the KMT and turning it into a genuine democratic party.

Ma should remember his statement in the second TV debate, when he said he regretted that the KMT in its eight years in opposition had failed to reform. This statement was never followed up in the campaign, but he should also make party reform a matter of priority.

If Ma pushes a Taiwan-centric, reformist agenda, the people of Taiwan will unite behind him. If, on the other hand, he is weak toward China and relies on Beijing's goodwill, the future of Taiwan will be bleak. Only with a genuinely reformist agenda can Ma fulfill his major campaign slogan of "going forward."

Bruce Jacobs is professor of Asian languages and studies and director of the Taiwan Research Unit at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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