Integrity, furloughs from work and the administration’s record were among the issues discussed yesterday in the televised debate for the three vice presidential candidates in the Jan. 14 presidential election.
In the two-and-half-hour debate, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate, touted the government’s commitment to clean and efficient governance and said only President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election could guarantee a corruption-free administration, while Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) accused the Ma administration of failing to deliver on campaign promises and blaming all its problems on the previous DPP administration.
People First Party (PFP) candidate Lin Ruey-shiung (林瑞雄) accused the DPP of putting its own ideology above everything else, and accused the Ma government of incompetence.
Taiwan needed to develop itself into a “Switzerland of the Orient,” the 73-year-old epidemiology expert said, adding that the biotechnology, healthcare, care services and pharmaceutical sectors were the areas on which Taiwan needed to focus to ensure a prosperous future.
Wu rebutted Su’s criticism that the KMT administration had failed to deliver on Ma’s first-term campaign promises and said that Taiwan was still repaying debts incurred by a corrupt DPP government from 2000 to 2008.
“With the DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) campaign staffed by the protegees of jailed former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), how can voters be confident in ushering in a new DPP administration?” Wu repeatedly asked in the debate.
Lin questioned why KMT heavyweights still wanted to support Ma, whose popularity has fallen.
“Are they living in the -democratic era or the authoritarian era?” he asked, urging people to shake off their blue or green leanings and vote for PFP presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜). He also promised to apply his medical expertise to help in the administration.
Following recent controversies over a luxury farmhouse and his wife’s attendance at a birthday party where male strippers performed, Su defended his integrity and insisted he and his wife, Hung Heng-chu (洪恆珠), would act with circumspection and accept public scrutiny.
“Over the past 25 years since I entered the politics, I’ve instructed my staff and family members not to take any bribes or be involved in public affairs, and I would continue to follow that standard in the future ... Despite the rumors against my family that have been raised during election campaign, myself and my wife would be circumspect in all that we do and accept public scrutiny of all that we do,” he said in response to a question posted by media representatives during the debate.
Wu, dismissed concerns about both his own and his wife’s use of fortune-tellers when asked whether they were superstitious.
“Going to see a fortune-teller is not a flaw, and I have not visited even one over the past 10 years,” Wu said. “My wife has never interfered in public affairs and that is going back to the time I was Kaohsiung mayor, and she is not superstitious.”
Lin, whose recent remarks about being attacked by 18,750 kilohertz (kHz) electromagnetic waves for three nights starting from Sept. 20 attracted a great deal of attention, yesterday repeated his claim when asked by media representatives to comment on the issue.