Reforms must be based on a thorough and fair review, and more urgent reforms should be prioritized. Government agencies should take the lead in setting a good example in the hope that this might convince the public to follow. If the reform process is reversed, it instead becomes anti-reform.
Following the fuel and electricity price hikes earlier this year, the state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp, Taiwan and Taiwan Power Co have failed to implement reform. Not long ago, the company even handed out NT$4 billion (US$138 million) in performance bonus to its employees without having first obtained the legislature’s approval. Why should taxpayers support the actions of a company that clearly tramples all over the public and does what it wants.
Looking at the various policies that will take effect starting next year, one cannot help but wonder where the reform plan for the retirement pension program is? By how much will the income replacement ratio for retired government employees be reduced? How have the Labor Insurance Fund investments performed?
After an investment company’s vice president used the fund’s resources to manipulate the stock price of the Ablerex Electronics Co via dummy accounts, one wonders how the government will prevent similar cases from happening again? In the face of the Bureau of National Health Insurance’s huge deficits, will the bureau’s year-end bonus reach a new high this year?
It is not easy to be elected president, but it is not the most difficult task, because ruling the country and making a good, lasting impression on the public is more difficult. Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said that throwing shoes at Ma was the behavior of bullies. Some international leaders have had the same experience.
For example, a Cambridge University student threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶). Ma is one of very few leaders who has been attacked by his own people.
After the Ma administration’s bullying of the public, Lung still stood up to defend the president. Who will defend the public? Given the public fury, there is no alternative, but to take to the streets. There is no better way to make the government listen to the public and stop being a bully.
Translated by Eddy Chang