Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Poll shows unhappiness with policies

EXCLUSION:The DPP said the RDEC left out questions related to the Cabinet’s performance, while the agency said it was focusing on policy implementation

By Huang Wei-chu  /  Staff reporter

Chen Chang-hui, chairman of Taiwan Solidarity Union’s Tainan branch, holds up a “cake” made of cow dung for President Ma Ying-jeou in Greater Tainan yesterday as a sign of public anger against the government’s decision to increase fuel and electricity prices.

Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times

A little more than 52 percent of the public is unhappy with the Executive Yuan’s efforts to boost employment, while 52.9 percent are dissatisfied with its efforts to boost economic development, a survey by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) shows.

The survey, conducted on March 26 and March 27, interviewed 1,241 people above the age of 20 through random selection of residential telephones. In all, 1,073 agreed to answer the survey, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The survey showed that 43.8 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the amount of increase in social welfare provision and 48.4 were unhappy with the education system.

While 48 percent professed confidence in the government’s policy implementation for the next year, 40 percent said they were not confident.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that while President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had won re-election on an economic platform, post-election surveys by the government showed that more than 50 percent of the public were dissatisfied with the government’s performance on economic development.

There were also higher figures of discontent with regard to other policies, which shows that Taiwanese are very unhappy with the government, Tsai said, adding that the public had lost all trust in the Ma administration.

Ma should reform his Cabinet, halt policies such as electricity and gas price increases, and apologize to the nation, Tsai said.

Tsai also claimed that the commission survey had tried to avoid the issue of public trust in the Cabinet by changing the title of its survey.

Past surveys by the commission had been titled “The People’s Satisfaction with Governmental Policy Implementation” and included questions on satisfaction with the Cabinet’s performance and administrative efficiency, Tsai said.

The change in title to “Satisfaction of the Executive Yuan’s Policy Implementation” stems from the government’s anticipation of negative feedback and represents an attempt to avoid the issue of the Cabinet’s approval rate and presidential performance by omitting those questions, Tsai said.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) also alleged that questions on satisfaction with government performance on cross-strait relations, performance on cross-strait diplomacy and performance on taxation reform were purposefully left out.

“Why are there no questions concerning cross-strait diplomacy, when in past policy implementation surveys there were?” Chen asked.

The Ma administration must have known that the controversial “One country, two areas (一國兩區)” rhetoric voiced late last month would not be accepted by the majority of the public, Chen said, adding that the Ma administration did not include questions concerning cross-strait issues, because of fears that such questions would lower the government’s overall score on policy implementation.

Commission spokesperson Sung Yu-hsieh (宋餘俠) said the survey focused on the implementation of Cabinet policy, which was why issues of diplomacy and cross-strait matters, which pertain to presidential powers, were not included.

On the issue of tax reform, Sung said the lack of questions on the subject reflected the Ministry of Finance’s uncertainty over its capital-gains tax policy at the time the survey was conducted.

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