KMT actions point to flawed system

By Jerome Keating  / 

Thu, Jul 10, 2014 - Page 8

One obviously cannot and should not tar all Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members with the same brush, but two recent happenings have revealed the deep-rooted problems that the nation has with the party.

The first is the shameless effort by former Government Information Office (GIO) official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) to scrounge a few extra dollars for his retirement fund.

The second is more involved and concerns the long-standing problems the nation has with the KMT, as well as the ineffective role of the Control Yuan.

Both are significant, and they need to be viewed, not separately, but as part of the continuing whole — the unfortunate residue of the KMT’s one-party state days.

Kuo is a man who, in 2009, was sacked from a governmental position with the now-defunct GIO.

At that time, it was discovered that Kuo had written several derogatory and racist rants against Taiwanese, even though he had tried hiding behind a pen name.

The gist of the remarks was that he saw himself as a “high-class Mainlander” who unfortunately had to spend his days working for low-class Taiwanese taibazi (“rednecks”) and questioned the nation’s sovereignty. Kuo lost his government job and pension for that.

Early this year, the downsized and also near-defunct Taiwan Provincial Government all of a sudden created a position for a foreign affairs adviser (as if it needed that). Kuo immediately put in his application.

In the first two stages of the screening process, Kuo scored much lower than other candidates, but then in a rush to judgement in the final stage of evaluation, he suddenly jumped ahead of all other contenders, and was selected.

It did not end there; he was barely a couple of weeks into the job when he applied for retirement (he was just about to turn 65). This raised all sorts of questions and flags.

The first is obvious. Why would the Taiwan Provincial Government hire a disgraced man, who is at the brink of retirement age, for a questionable position, especially when it would have to go through the same process again less than six months later?

The second flag was even more obvious, even laughable, if it did not mean that taxpayers would have to shell out about NT$60,000 a month for the rest of this man’s life.

Here was Kuo, this self-professed “high-class Mainlander,” acting like a low-class thief. It was past KMT hypocrisy writ large.

Enter the Control Yuan. When this job was created and the selection process of the Taiwan Provincial Government was investigated and challenged by Control Yuan member Chien Lin Hui-chun (錢林慧君), legitimate fault was found.

All that resulted from this was that the Control Yuan issued the provincial government a reprimand, tantamount to a slap on the wrist.

Now if this was simply a matter of the “high-class” Kuo showing how he would easily stoop to low-class means to salvage a personal pension, it would be, as was said, shameful and laughable. However, it goes much deeper and points to a consistent and constant KMT modus vivendi.

Involved here is a deep-rooted sense of the KMT priority to reward its “loyal” members regardless of how culpable, grasping and criminal they might be. Kuo is not the first nor will he be the last.

There is more than one guilty person in this case. Kuo’s position had to be created and approved by a number of people in an ongoing, well-oiled apparatus and system. That system was brought to Taiwan and run by a cadre of KMT stalwarts that care primarily for the party and its people and always place them before the nation.

It is deja vu for anyone that has any sense of what has happened in China.

It was because of this same practice coupled with “high-class” cronyism and corruption (greed, for short) that the KMT lost the hearts and minds of the Chinese to the Chinese Communist Party. And now, the same people are here, like carpetbaggers fleecing Taiwanese and perpetuating the same practices.

This brings to focus the current problems with the Control Yuan, the supposed watchdog. This toothless tiger has long outgrown its usefulness, if it ever had any.

The Control Yuan is yet another means not only of “reward” for loyal party members, but even a means for the party or president to reward their favorites. The president can even use it to stack the deck for upcoming troubles. In effect, he can be creating his own personal protection force.

It is ironic that the Presidential Office and KMT spokespersons cry wolf and say that a crisis is in the wings.

If one can think back to when former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in office, with little worry of crisis, the KMT-dominated Legislative Yuan refused any and all appointees that Chen put forward.

It was not a matter of questioning the credentials of Chen’s appointees, but more a flat denial of any of his applications.

In effect, the KMT was saying that it would rather leave the nation without a watchdog than allow anyone appointed by Chen or the DPP be given a position in the Control Yuan.

However, the situation today is even worse. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is in his final two years of office and is putting forth members for the Control Yuan that even some of his own party find questionable.

Yet Ma pushes on, wanting to have his appointees approved without proper deliberation, just as he has similarly wanted all the elements of the ECFA and the trade pact given a rubber stamp without proper investigation.

What is happening? Such insistence adds the possibility of something even more sinister and corrupt than the rewards of cronyism into the mix.

Ma is one who has always tried to fit square pegs into round holes, whether it be his belief that the Republic of China (ROC) with its outdated 1947 Constitution should be de rigueur for Taiwan and the world, or that the fantasy of the so-called “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000 referring to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese government that both sides of the Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means — be perpetuated.

Additionally, his actions show that he has no idea of what governing in a democracy means.

Despite this and how obtuse and incompetent he is, it does not mean that he is not calculating.

Control Yuan tenures last for six years. This means that these personally rewarded cronies of Ma will have power not only for the remaining two years of Ma’s presidency, but for the next four years regardless of who or what party wins the presidential elections in 2016.

Ma knows how he twisted and used the system with a double standard to persecute Chen. Now he is apparently seeking several monopolistic get-out-of-jail-free cards for the future.

It is carpetbagger insurance in spades regardless of what damage Ma might do to the nation in his final two years.

Kuo has nothing on Ma, and the nation is not done with the corruption of the KMT by a long shot.

Jerome Keating is a commentator in Taipei.