Thu, Jul 12, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Ma vows to regain public trust after scandal

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou smiles and gestures during a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called for more anti-corruption efforts from the Agency Against Corruption ahead of its one-year anniversary, while vowing to regain the public’s trust in the wake of a bribery scandal involving former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世).

“Lin’s case has humiliated the government. However, we should have a sense of shame and do our best to make the necessary improvements. We must present achievements and regain the public’s trust,” Ma said at Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) headquarters.

As part of efforts to demonstrate the government’s determination to fight corruption, the KMT Central Standing Committee invited Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) to present a report on the Agency Against Corruption’s progress.

The agency, established on July 20 last year, aims to prevent corruption by public servants, but has no authority to carry out investigations against senior government bureaus and officials.

Tseng reported on the conclusions made in Saturday’s integrity forum, which include the ministry organizing a meeting every two months to monitor anti-corruption work and establish a lobbying mechanism to systematize the process and make it transparent, with the aim of holding responsible parties accountable if corruption cases involving lobbying arise.

The agency would also complete the drafting of a law aimed at protecting whistleblowers and encouraging people to reveal corruption, he said, adding that the draft would be completed before the end of the year.

Ma said he expected the ministry and the agency to accelerate the establishment of lobbying mechanisms and to reinforce existing anti-corruption measures to prevent further corruption.

While pledging to combat corruption in the public sector in the wake of the Lin controversy, Ma said these measures should not stop public servants from working hard to benefit the people.

“Public servants should do whatever they can to look after the public interest as long as the law does not prohibit it,” he said.

The scandal has sparked discussion about whether Ma should remain as KMT chairman.

The issue was raised at the committee meeting, with some members expressing concern about recent calls for Ma to step down as party chairman and focus his energy on the presidency.

Ma brushed aside the concerns, saying he would run in the KMT chairmanship election again.

“I suppose I’ve already declared my intention to seek re-election for the KMT chairmanship, but I am willing to make a formal announcement today that I will run in the KMT chairmanship election,” he said, drawing a round of applause from committee members.

“Party unity is crucial for the KMT at the moment. We have no other option than to be united and we can’t have the luxury of a party split or internal disputes,” he said.

The KMT is scheduled to hold its chairmanship election next year.

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