The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday agreed that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had indeed changed the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as he claimed in the presidential debate over the weekend, but said he changed the party “in a bad way.”
DPP spokespeople told a press conference that Ma had made the KMT “a richer and a more corrupt party” during his chairmanship.
The DPP comments came in response to a comment Ma made in Saturday’s presidential debate in which he said that he had changed the KMT, while the DPP had changed DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The value of the KMT’s assets under Ma’s leadership has ballooned from NT$156.1 billion (US$5.17 billion) in 2007 to more than NT$200 billion today, an increase of almost NT$50 billion, DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said, citing statistics and media reports.
The increase came from the Central Investment Holding Co’s stock dividends of NT$6.9 billion, a NT$4.2 billion profit from a property development plan near Taipei Railway Station and a NT$20 billion profit from a property sale by the National Development and Research Institute, which was considered an illegal seizure of national property, Kang said.
A total of 44 KMT legislators, township mayors and local councilors, all of whom were nominated by Ma, have been stripped of their duties for vote-buying or corruption as of yesterday, while more than 12 similar cases are still being processed in courts, DPP -spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
“Ma did change the KMT by making the party more corrupt. Rampant vote-buying has caused political instability and wasted national resources because of the many by-elections [as a result of annulled election results],” Lin said.
Ma has also changed Taiwan’s wealth distribution by increasing income disparity, DPP spokesperson Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
Citing statistics on the ratio of household income compiled by the Ministry of Finance’s Financial Data Center, Chen said the income of the wealthiest 5 percent of Taiwan’s population was almost 75 times that of the bottom 5 -percent in 2009, compared with 60 times in 2007, when the DPP was in power.
Ma cited other data in the debate — the household income ratio of the top 20 percent and the lowest 20 percent — to back up his performance, but his calculations were incorrect, Chen said.
The ratios in the past three years — 6.05 in 2008, 6.34 in 2009 and 6.19 last year — were all higher than the 5.98 recorded in 2007, showing that income disparity has worsened under the Ma administration, Chen said, adding that the same data suggests that Ma’s efforts to reduce the wealth gap by taxation and various government charges and fees have been in vain.
While Ma said he had tried to help the poor by cutting taxes, statistics showed that the president reduced more taxes for the rich, Chen said.
The Ma administration has reduced corporate taxes by NT$200.75 billion between 2008 and this year, he said, while tax reductions for ordinary people in the same period only amounted to NT$81.8 billion.
“It appears to us that Ma has chosen to stand on the same side as the rich. It’s no surprise that several business leaders have publicly voiced their support for Ma in recent weeks,” Chen said.