Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial : The ‘promises’ of President Ma

After President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) failed to deliver on his “6-3-3” campaign promise — 6 percent economic growth, per capita income of US$30,000 and an unemployment rate of below 3 percent — it is common knowledge that his election promises are worthless.

To everyone’s surprise, when a journalist asked Ma about the results of his “4-6-8” plan not long ago, he couldn’t even remember the name of the plan and said he would have to check. Clearly he did not remember promising during his 2008 election campaign to provide tax refunds of up to NT$46,800 as a job subsidy for low-income households with incomes.

The campaign promises a popularly elected president makes represent a solemn pledge to voters. However, Ma not only makes little effort to fulfil his promises, he often ignores them altogether.

One example is the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the opaqueness of which raised a lot of questions, resulting in demands for a referendum on the issue. However, Ma blocked such proposals and would not even allow KMT legislators to review the agreement, despite its huge legislative majority.

Other campaign promises that Ma does not really care about, such as the “4-6-8” plan, he conveniently forgot after winning the election. During the 2008 campaign he promised that the government would continue to seek UN membership, in line with the wishes of Taiwanese. After becoming president, that promise was forgotten as attempts to gain UN membership as a state were replaced by a push for a “diplomatic truce” with China.

Ma pledged that Taiwan’s future would be decided by Taiwanese without any interference from China, but after coming to power he has pushed the “1992 consensus” with Beijing and said that Taiwan is part of China, thus depriving the Taiwanese of their right to decide.

When running for party chairman and president, Ma repeatedly said he would resolve the problem of the KMT’s ill-gotten assets. However, he has simply sold off the party’s assets cheaply in one questionable deal after another that even members of the Central Standing Committee were not told about. Recently exposed kickbacks paid in connection to these sales have further highlighted Ma’s deception. The only thing about which he seems to be genuinely sincere is his belief in the “one China” principle and his efforts to lock Taiwan onto China in pursuit of “eventual unification.”

As he campaigns for re--election, Ma is now making another set of promises. Who can believe anything he says? More than a month ago, his campaign spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) was unable to name the “12 Loving Taiwan Projects” that Ma proposed on a TV talk show. It has long been thought that Ma’s assistants don’t take his promises seriously, but the “4-6-8” debacle shows that not even Ma himself takes them seriously

Do the pan-blue camp’s heavyweights continue to support him for the sake of KMT rule? Do deceived swing voters want to be deceived again? Above all, first-time voters should not trust his campaign promises, which are even bigger this time around.

Despite failing to deliver on the “6-3-3” pledge, Ma is undeterred in his promises.

He continues to equivocate over a pledge to donate half his salary if he fails to deliver on the original promise. Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said on Oct. 4 that Ma had donated more than NT$70 million to charity over the years.

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