Thu, Jan 05, 2012 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: Administration’s neutrality on line

Just what has become of the nation’s administrative apparatus? Many people have begun to have serious doubts, following a recent string of reports alleging a violation of administrative neutrality under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the squandering of taxpayers’ money for partisan interests, a disregard of the law and the abuse of administrative power.

First off, Next Magazine last week reported on the nation’s intelligence agencies (including the National Security Council) conducting surveillance on opposition presidential candidates.

Then there was the allegation over the weekend that vote-buying may have taken place when borough chiefs and so-called environmental protection volunteers received NT$100 of convenience store coupons at an event organized by New Taipei City’s (新北市) Jhonghe District (中和), while President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was present in his capacity as candidate.

Then on Tuesday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) revealed that the KMT government spent over NT$52 million (US$1.7 million) last month alone on newspaper advertisements promoting Ma’s administrative performance.

Before anyone could recover from that, there came yesterday a piece of even more shocking news — the allegation that Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) had signed off on the destruction of two official documents to cover up the council’s use of embedded advertising in 2010.

Granted the documents in question — as charged by DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) — were dated well over a year ago and that Lai yesterday rejected the accusation — saying she had no intention of destroying the documents and only thought it was standard procedure to sign off on their destruction — her action was nonetheless suspicious given that the Archives Act (檔案法) clearly prohibits anyone from destroying official papers.

Just as many people recall the recent controversy over Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Christina Liu’s (劉憶如) alleged alteration of government documents to implicate DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in improper conduct related to a biotechnology company, so many can’t help but wonder what might happen as the nation faces an unprecedented four-month transitional period between the election and the inauguration of the president-elect on May 20 — if Ma were to lose his re-election bid. Will yet more official documents be destroyed or tampered with? These are legitimate concerns in view of the reported allegations involving Lai and Liu.

And this is by no means the end of the list.

The latest addition to the catalog of alleged breaches of administrative neutrality was yesterday’s report by Next Magazine alleging Ma’s re-election campaign office instructed eight Cabinet-level ministries to encourage their employees to take part in Ma’s re-election rallies on Sunday.

What has become of Taiwan? Since when has the Ma re-election campaign office replaced the Executive Yuan as the top administrative agency in issuing directives to the nation’s public servants?

Civil servants are on the taxpayers’ payroll and their job description calls for them to serve the people, not a presidential candidate from a particular party. Could this be a sign of the Ma administration’s return toward a party-state apparatus?

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