When things break, these politicians take advantage of a natural disaster to apply for more funding to “fix” them. When local politicians graduate to the national government, they bring their corrupt practices with them. As other local politicians learn from those at the top, corruption becomes unstoppable.
When Ma and his administration got into power, they prided themselves on being clean and honest, but not long after, a scandal involving military officers buying promotions broke. Although the Ministry of National Defense was told to investigate and submit a report within three months, the issue was simply forgotten and nothing was done.
Neither did the Ma administration do anything about rumors of people bribing their way into posts in the judiciary during the previous administration.
With this inability to root out corruption, a lack of resolve to clean up bureaucracy, and claims of being clean and honest while failing to impose discipline means a political crisis cannot be far off. The structural corruption that exists in the KMT has not been eliminated and as new leaders with a background in local politics enter central government without changing their corrupt practices, they will only have themselves to blame when things go wrong.
If this current crisis is not handled properly, the KMT could very well become one big lame duck.
If a strict anti-corruption mechanism was established, the status of the Agency Against Corruption was elevated and the government showed a stronger resolve to eradicate corruption, public support for the KMT would naturally return.
However, if the government continues to deal with corruption by talking tough, but doing nothing, then the rules of democracy dictate that not only the judiciary, but all political leaders, will have to face the court of public opinion and politicians will face the scrutiny of voters.
Norman Yin is a professor of financial studies at National Chengchi University.
Translated by Drew Cameron