President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has said that with absolute power comes absolute responsibility. The evidence points more to him abusing the power he has and taking absolutely no responsibility for it.
The Cabinet’s draft political party act would bar political parties from investing in property or making money, setting a two-year time limit as of its enactment for parties to transfer ownership or sell off their assets. If they fail to do so within this period, they would have six months to hand these assets to a trust. Parties that do not comply with this legislation face a fine.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has said it is committed to dealing with the issue of party assets in a reasonable, open way in line with the law and for the public good, and that its resolve to address the issue remains unchanged. The truth is quite the opposite. There are still questions over how Ma handled the sale of China Television, the Broadcasting Corp of China and the Central Motion Picture Co. That is enough to blow a hole in the KMT’s story.
Ma and the KMT seem to think they can take the Taiwanese public for a bunch of fools. They think people will believe anything they say. From the time he became party chairman to the last presidential election, Ma has announced on several occasions that he would sell off all party assets and “return them to zero.” He has chosen a funny way to go about this over the past few years.
As it stands, the KMT still earns several billion New Taiwan dollars in stock dividends alone and remains the wealthiest political party in the world. It does make one wonder whether the party, far from being interested in reducing its assets to zero, might actually be contemplating adding a few zeros to its wealth.
While the nation is getting poorer, the people to whom the country belongs are getting poorer and the opposition parties are getting poorer, it is only the KMT that is getting richer. This version of the poverty gap really is something of a miracle of “democracy.”
The KMT’s party assets are best described as “ill-gotten assets,” commandeered from the national coffers. This is why people have been calling on the party to return the assets to the country. It is only right and just that these “ill-gotten assets” are returned.
Even when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in power, the KMT exploited its effective legislative majority to block any legislative attempts to address the issue. After the KMT returned to power in 2008, Ma quickly forgot his campaign promises to “reduce the party assets to zero.” He has put them to good use in the various elections over the past few years.
Not too long ago, the Control Yuan released a report saying that in the recent presidential election, DPP candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had more political donations and campaign funds than Ma did. That does not make any sense. The elephant in the room is how the KMT’s assets gave Ma’s campaign access to wall-to-wall advertising and an army of campaigners.
Only those in the loop have any idea where the prodigious amounts of political donations to Ma’s campaign ended up, and Ma and the KMT are remaining tight-lipped on the subject. Why on earth would the party let go of this secret weapon that helped it bag the election? And to what end? Ma has had his fill, and future party leaders will want some of the pie, too.