Wed, Nov 12, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Reporters give Ma a poor grade

POLITICAL MANEUVERINGS PFP councilors seemed keen to undermine the Taipei mayor after suggestions that he run in the election instead of PFP leader James Soong

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) earned low marks for his ability to handle municipal affairs among reporters polled by People First Party (PFP) city councilors yesterday.

According to the survey of 83 reporters who cover Taipei City political news, Ma scored 55.94 points out of 100 for his choices of department heads, his lowest evaluation in the survey. For handling municipal affairs he scored 62.31 and for crisis management he got 66.34.

Ma's average mark for all aspects of his performance was 71.79.

"Although Ma won re-election last year with an overwhelming 870,000 votes, his capability obviously does not earn high acclaim in the eyes of the media and reporters, who are the closest watchdogs of the city government," said PFP City Councilor Tai Hsi-chin (戴錫欽), who conducted the survey with three other PFP councilors.

Tai said that Ma's unsatisfactory management of the SARS outbreak in April had created a negative impression in the public's mind. The deterioration of the city's transportation was another of his weaknesses, Tai said.

"Many of those polled even responded that Ma's most impressive achievements in municipal construction were: `none' or `can't recall,'" said Tai, adding that many reporters described Ma as "irresolute."

"Some reporters also blamed Ma for his laissez-faire attitude to the city's bureau chiefs, who were criticized as `loose' and `remiss,' and that he should be responsible for the bad performance of the city government," Tai said.

Although Ma's integrity (87.41), charisma (85.38) and political future (81.69) won him high scores in the survey, Tai said that Ma's advantages were superficial and not helpful to the city.

In response to the survey, Ma said that he cared more about what citizens thought of him than the handful of reporters who happened to be at the city council yesterday.

"I have tried hard to play my part well and I will continue to so do," Ma said.

The survey comes after speculation that some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members would prefer to see Ma, rather than PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), run with KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) in next year's presidential election.

KMT City Councilor Lin I-hua (林奕華) doubted the motives of the PFP councilors in conducting a survey attacking the KMT mayor.

"I believe it is the city councilors' duty to oversee the city government's performance, but I think the timing of PFP city councilors releasing such a report should be fully discussed with KMT members in advance," Lin said.

PFP Legislator Diane Lee (李慶安) denied that the survey was part of a strategy to protect Soong's position as the pan-blue camp's vice presidential candidate.

"It is impossible for Ma to replace Soong," Lee said. "We are focusing on helping KMT Chairman Lien Chan and Soong win the presidential election. We have no time to deal with such subtle political manipulation."

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