Thu, Aug 20, 2015 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: Emperor Ma’s new NDC clothes

President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration never ceases to amaze the public with its brazenness — and it appears to be at it again.

Last week the National Development Council (NDC) released the results of a poll that found that 82.1 percent of Taiwanese were satisfied with their quality of life, work environment and family finances.

The results, which appear far removed from reality, instantly prompted jokes among opposition parties and political commentators, with many skeptics detecting a hint of political manipulation.

A look at statements made by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) easily debunk the beautiful numbers served up by the council’s survey.

Hung, whose support rating in recent weeks saw her trailing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), has been quoted as saying: “I could have an easy sail [in my campaign] if the ruling party had been doing a good job in governing.”

In her acceptance speech at the KMT national congress last month, Hung said: “Our nation faces various challenges: competition due to globalization, a slack economy, a widening wealth gap, the lack of justice equality and deteriorating quality of life, but the biggest threats are egregious political infighting and populism, which have stalled Taiwan’s development, incited disorder, disrupted society and left people baffled.”

Hung might not have realized it, but those gloomy items she listed depict exactly what has happened as a result of Ma’s poor governance over the past seven years and three months.

Since Ma took office in May 2008, all he has given the public is increasing inflation and rising commodity and home prices, as well as a deteriorating labor market, weakening household incomes and record-high public debt.

The Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) on Friday last week revised downward this year’s economic growth forecast for the neation from its late May projection of 3.28 percent to 1.56 percent, the lowest among major Asian countries.

The DGBAS statistics showed the wages of young people have not improved, with incomes averaging just NT$30,000 per month, retreating to the level of 18 years ago. They also showed the unemployment rate rose to 3.71 percent in June, ending four consecutive months of declines.

In addition, the nation’s exports in the first half of this year declined 7.1 percent from a year earlier.

The Ma administration’s incompetence is also reflected in Ma’s weak approval rating, which has been known to dip into the single-digits, such as in September 2013 when it hit a record low of 9.2 percent.

In view of the severe economic problems facing the country — not to mention other cases of social injustice — it certainly is beyond comprehension that the council could still come up with such a brazen polling result.

Ma is known to be very fond of numbers: He likes to present policies, tout his achievements and explain almost everything in terms of numbers. Therefore, with the presidential and legislative election campaigns heating up, it is to be expected that the latest council poll would also be cited by KMT politicians in their efforts to inflate the Ma administration’s achievements.

The important question is whether the public buys it. In that light, how then is this far-from-convincing poll any different from the emperor’s new clothes?

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