When the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government “relocated” to Taiwan 63 years ago in 1949, the party had no assets in Taiwan. Today, it owns a large amount of land, property and stocks, earning several billion New Taiwan dollars from those assets every year. The question is: How many of these assets were obtained through inappropriate means? There has yet to be an investigation into this.
On Thursday, the Cabinet approved a draft political party act, which will be submitted to the legislature for review. This is an attempt by the KMT to legitimize its assets, and an effrontery to the principle of fairness and justice: What it should be doing is returning these assets to the public.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman, seems to be in on this rather underhanded maneuver. Once again, Ma has showed his “clean” image for the sham that it is.
Recently, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Hsu Chun-hsin (許忠信) examined the KMT’s finances that were officially reported to the Department of Civil Affairs. His research led to some rather shocking findings. From 2005 to last year, the KMT’s Central Investment Holding Co amassed substantial dividends of NT$700 million (US$23.5 million), NT$1.02 billion, NT$800 million, NT$3.07 billion, NT$1.53 billion, NT$2.89 billion and NT$1.46 billion during the seven-year period.
How did the KMT use the money after it went into the party’s coffers? It was used to support its unfair election campaigns, of course. Before the party regained power in 2008, the average dividend was NT$800 million per year. However, after it regained power, the average dividend rose to NT$2.3 billion per year, representing an almost three-fold increase.
Hsu has questioned how it is that, at a time when Taiwan’s stock market has been hit so hard by the global economic downturn, the Central Investment Holding Co can do so well? Has there been any insider trading? Are there any more corrupt officials, apart from the allegedly corrupt former Cabinet secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世)?
From its dividends of about NT$3 billion alone, the KMT may have invested between NT$30 billion and NT$60 billion in the stock market. Should it not be asked to account for the huge amounts of unknown assets it holds?
During the global financial crisis from 2008 to last year, both the international and domestic stock markets suffered. While most Taiwanese investors were suffering financial losses, the KMT still managed to post gains from its stock investments. It had even profited more before the global economy dived. What kind of hocus pocus is this? Did government officials use their influence to benefit from insider trading, “rent-seeking,” or other corrupt activities? And why did the Control Yuan or the Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office not respond?
The draft bill that allows political parties to put their assets into a trust is doubtful indeed. Under the KMT’s dictatorship during the Martial Law era, the party accumulated numerous assets through insider trading and benefit tunneling. How can it do nothing about them?
To handle party assets appropriately, perhaps we can learn from the draft bill regarding party asset liquidation and disposition proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Since the DPP proposed it at the Fifth Legislative Yuan, the KMT has blocked it more than 250 times, through whatever means it had at its disposal. Is Ma clean? Look at how he has handled the issue of party assets.
On the face of it, he might have a clean image, but as the saying goes: “All that glitters is not gold.”
Yang Hsien-hung works in the media industry.
Translated by Eddy Chang