Sun, Dec 18, 2011 - Page 1 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Candidates spar in final debate

THIRD WHEEL:Ma and Tsai locked horns over the Yu Chang case and Chen Shui-bian, leaving Soong to lay out his policies and question why his rivals did not do the same

By Mo Yan-chih and Chris Wang  /  Staff Reporters

Ma again challenged Tsai on her alleged involvement in the investment deal of Yu Chang Biologics Co (宇昌生技股份有限公司), now known as TaiMed Biologics Co (中裕新藥股份有限公司), asking why Tsai invested in the firm even after leaving her government post and pressing her for a clear explanation.

“Don’t you know that there are things you cannot do even after stepping down as a government official, and no matter how important the goal of promoting the biotech industry, you should never invest in the industry and profit from it?” he asked.

Soong said that Ma had skipped him when he should have posed him a question and lashed out at both the KMT and the DPP for engaging in smear campaigning and failing to discuss their policy platforms.

“The KMT and the DPP should step aside and let me take care of the people,” he said.

Tsai went on to challenge Ma’s integrity by questioning his allegedly taking a NT$15 million bribe from Fubon Bank in 2003 as Taipei mayor and his failure to address the KMT’s illicit assets.

Tsai slammed Ma for failing to carry out his promises of dealing with KMT assets and eliminating negative campaign tactics, challenging the president to bring more positive changes to his party, taking the amendment of the Political Party Act (政黨法) as the first step.

Ma defended his efforts to place public bids on party assets and put profits from asset sales in a trust fund since he took over as KMT chairman in 2006, and refuted Tsai’s accusations that the KMT uses negative campaigning tactics.

Ma questioned Tsai’s use of aides once close to Chen, pressing her to apologize for the damage Chen caused to the nation.

“Chairperson Tsai, you questioned me about bringing up Chen all the time, and that’s because I cannot avoid mentioning him as you are surrounded by his people. You did not try to separate yourself from his people, and yet refuse to take blame for his actions,” he said.

“You only see Chen Shui-bian when there are millions of Taiwanese people standing behind me. You still live in 2008 and you choose to dwell on history. If that is the case, let Taiwanese people make you history with their votes,” Tsai said.

Soong echoed challenges from Tsai on Ma’s narrow circle of advisers in his decisionmaking process, saying Ma lacked communication with opposition parties.

“As the nation’s president, is it appropriate to listen to only a small circle of advisers? Do you have the sincerity to talk to opposition leaders? “ Soong said.

Yesterday’s debate was the last in a three-part series — the first and final debates featuring the presidential candidates and the second debate featuring their running mates — in the run-up to the Jan. 14 presidential election.

A three-part series of televised presentations by the candidates is slated for Dec. 23.

Additional reporting by Agencies

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