Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday defended his criticism of several policies of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, saying they were not personal.
Chu made the remarks on the sidelines of a business forum in Taipei yesterday morning, when asked whether his criticism of the Ma administration’s major policies was an attempt to distance himself from the unpopular president.
“I have emphasized more than once that some policies are worth continuing, but those that are not should be re-evaluated,” Chu said.
“For instance, the direction of the government’s cross-strait policy is, without doubt, on target, but its 12-year national education program has been a magnet for criticism,” Chu said.
Chu, who is also KMT chairman, acknowledged during a radio interview on Wednesday afternoon with Sisy Chen (陳文茜) that the perceived poor performance of the Ma administration was the biggest impediment to his election prospects.
He cited Ma’s controversial proposal to levy a capital gains tax, 12-year national education program and raising of electricity and fuel prices as examples of the mistakes that the KMT government had made in the past seven years.
“We need to humbly engage in self-reflection on our mistakes. We must tell the public what we will do in the future to gain their support,” Chu said in the interview.
He added that he was to propose solutions to the nation’s educational conundrum later yesterday, such as by encouraging students to opt for nearby schools and promoting vocational education.
As for the capital gains tax — which has undergone two amendments since its implementation in 2013, with a third amendment proposed by the KMT on the way — Chu said the policy has basically come back to where it started and must be re-examined.
“Increases in fuel and electricity prices have also been hotly criticized. I am not saying that prices should be frozen, but it matters how and when they are raised,” he said.
Asked whether he was worried about his suggestions distressing Ma, he said he had talked to the president about his administration’s policies on multiple occasions.
“I have always felt that there is more that can be done to improve the aforementioned policies, so I must bring them up,” he said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that despite Chu’s efforts, his remarks were not enough to convince voters that the KMT had conducted profound and substantive self-reflection.
“Still, it is better than nothing,” she said.
Tsai said recent remarks made by several members of the KMT and the current administration involved in the TaiMed Biologics Inc (中裕新藥) case demonstrated their reluctance to admit and reflect on their mistakes.
It somewhat explains why the Ma administration is such a failure, she said.
Tsai was referring to allegations, which were later proven to be false, made by former Council for Economic Planning and Development minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) when Tsai ran for president in 2012.
Liu accused Tsai of violating revolving-door laws by investing in a biotechnology company. Several KMT heavyweights, including Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), weighed in on the accusations against Tsai.
Although Tsai was cleared of the accusations by a court in 2012, and the Taipei District Court on Tuesday ordered Liu to compensate Tsai NT$2 million (US$60,872) for defamation, the KMT caucus has refused to apologize to Tsai.
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