During a recent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), said in response to the bribery scandal surrounding former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) that “regardless of how many people are involved in the case and regardless of rank, prosecutors and investigators must undertake a thorough investigation and use this case as an opportunity to get rid of all corruption.”
This all sounded nice and dignified, but he was in fact just saying what people wanted to hear, using empty phrases that are impossible to realize.
Do prosecutors really have the ability to conduct a thorough investigation?
If someone else had not come forward to try and keep themselves out of prison, would prosecutors have ever found out about Lin? Also, how could one simple sentence from Ma’s lips allow us to rid all corrupt elements?
During the meeting, all of those legislators and high officials sat in front of Ma, some publicly criticizing Lin, even though they are exactly like him.
However, can Ma tell the difference? Will prosecutors be able to clarify everything?
Legislators are habitually corrupt, but when have prosecutors ever investigated a legislator?
There was former Legislative Yuan speaker Liu Sung-pan (劉松藩) and former KMT legislator Ho Chih-hui (何智輝), but both of them fled the country.
Ma also said that “we must do everything in our power to defend the value of incorruptibility,” reiterating again something that is almost impossible to accomplish.
The president will actually only do anything to consolidate his own power and will make sure all of his KMT political allies get all the power they can, until corruption reigns freely and incorruptibility disappears without a trace.
If Ma had been just a tad more careful, he would never have chosen to promote this political clown Lin in the first place. Ma was reckless in choosing Lin and now it is impossible to clean up the mess.
Ma continued his lecture by saying that this crisis should be used as an opportunity to clean up the government and the political system and he said it in such a way that it sounded like the crisis was already over.
Ma claims he is clean and not corrupt, but he won the presidency after taking advantage of former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) corruption scandal and has never really been serious about creating an effective system for cleaning up the house and ridding it of corruption and inefficiency.
Ma has failed to do anything aside from dreaming up slogans about building an incorruptible government.
Ma has held several top posts, serving as minister of justice, minister of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, mayor of Taipei, chairman of the KMT and finally as president, so he should have a thorough understanding of how the legislature works and the corruption of legislators should be ingrained in his mind.
By now, then, he should have a comprehensive plan for legislative reform as well as plans for the regulation of legislators’s behavior, but he has no such plans. Instead, he is turning a blind eye to corrupt legislators just to consolidate his own position and power.
After listening to the recording of Lin soliciting bribes, Ma’s only response was to say that it was all “unbelievable and unthinkable.” However, what really is unbelievable and unthinkable, is an inept president only capable of lecturing and shouting slogans.
Chiu Hei-yuan is a research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology.
Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat
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