Thu, May 04, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Wu says Chairman Ma needs to brush up his people skills

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Disappointed by the recent party split over constitutional amendments, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday lectured KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for his "ineffective communication" with party legislators, and urged him to handle relationships with senior party members with more delicacy.

"Frankly speaking, your communication with party legislators needs to be improved ... former chairman Lien [Chan (連戰)] sees your achievement as his ... and [Legislative] Speaker Wang [Jin-pyng (王金平)] is one of the KMT's treasures, you should make him feel respected," Wu said yesterday during a KMT central standing committee meeting at party headquarters.

Wu dismissed media speculation that Lien, Wang and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) had joined forces against Ma. However, Wu said Ma should be more complaisant, rather than being like a "non-stick pan," and urged members of the so-called "Ma troop" to keep a low profile.

Until Tuesday night, when Ma seemed to have dissuaded some legislators from pursuing constitutional amendments, the issue had threatened to cause a split within the ranks of the KMT, as the chairman and party caucus failed to reach consensus on the issue.

Ma acknowledged his lack of communication with party legislators, and promised to create more opportunities for interaction.

"I have had little chance to get in touch with legislators due to the many elections that have taken place since I was elected KMT chairman. But I always welcome any legislator who wishes to see me, and we will create more opportunities like [Tuesday's] meeting to talk to party legislators," he said.

Ma met with Wang and 42 KMT legislators to discuss the issue of constitutional amendments on Tuesday night. He will meet another group of lawmakers tonight, and exchange ideas with legislators in different legislative committees in eight more meetings to be held this month.

The chairman dismissed the rumors that he had problematic relationships with Lien and Wang.

"[Lien and Wang] have rich experience in politics ... I think our channels of communication are very smooth," he said.

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