Sat, May 19, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Ma ‘sorry’ over decline in support

GENUINE CONTRITION?Facing unprecedented levels of public discontent, Ma vowed to try and do better and listen to public opinion when formulating policies

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou speaks to the press in Taipei yesterday and expresses regret over record-low support in recent opinion polls.

Photo: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expressed regret over his record-low support in recent opinion polls leading up to his second-term inauguration tomorrow, promising to reflect on the performance of the government and work harder to implement reforms.

“We have seen and heard [the public reaction and polls released by media outlets]. The government will reflect on its performance. Although our goal of pushing reforms will not change, we do promise to listen to public opinion when implementing policy and make adjustments where possible,” Ma said after attending the opening of the Straits Exchange Foundation’s new building in Taipei.

Support for Ma has plummeted following a series of policies that attracted public opposition, from the relaxation of rules governing traces of livestock feed additive ractopamine in US beef to increases in electricity and fuel prices.

A poll released yesterday by the Chinese-language United Daily News — which is generally considered to be sympathetic to the pan-blue camp — showed support for Ma had reached a new low of 23 percent. The poll, conducted from Tuesday to yesterday, with 1,112 valid samples, also indicated that 56 percent of respondents expressed a lack of confidence in Ma’s leadership of the nation over the next four years.

In a survey conducted by the newspaper soon after Ma’s first inauguration in 2008, public support for Ma was 66 percent.

Those who disapproved of Ma’s performance cited weakness in policy implementation, a tendency to ignore public opinion and a general lack of trustworthiness, the latest poll showed.

The results of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) latest poll, released on Thursday, were very similar to those in the United Daily News poll, with only 25 percent of interviewees satisfied with Ma’s performance.

Ma yesterday said the government was sorry about the inconvenience and concerns that certain policies had caused to the public and reiterated that his administration would do everything it could to do better over the next four years.

“We will continue to reflect, improve and work harder on government performance,” he said.

Ma declined to comment on the protest planned by the opposition parties today and tomorrow, saying he would instead keep a close eye on public opinion.

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