Wed, May 01, 2019 - Page 1 News List

DPP, Sunflower movement damaged Taiwan, Ma says

By Lin Liang-sheng, Chen Jou-chen and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Former president Ma Ying-jeou gives a speech on revitalizing Taiwan’s international competitiveness at a seminar organized by the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday called the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and participants of the Sunflower movement “sinners” for damaging Taiwan’s economy.

He said that under their blind obstruction, the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement fell through.

The agreement and other proposals he made were prioritized around Taiwan and beneficial for the public, but the DPP, with its anti-China sentiment, “opposed [them] for the sake of opposing,” he said at a conference held by the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation in Taipei, adding that the agreement was a lost opportunity.

During his eight years in office, the number of births defied expectations and increased by 15,000 per year, while last year, there were only 181,000 births, he said.

The national birthrate is low, yet President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) says Taiwan’s economy is the best it has been in 20 years, he said, adding that Tsai “feels good about [herself], but the people feel bad.”

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential hopeful who spoke at the conference, said that his motivation to run for president is to help the younger generation.

Young people around the world are facing a number of challenges, but while many people only see their anger, he sees their despair and dejection, he said, adding that the government is allowing them to just “sit around and wait.”

Responding to Ma’s comments, New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said on Facebook that the low salaries and high housing prices caused by the Ma administration’s “incorrect policies” were the “real sinners” for depriving the younger generation of a future.

Taiwan’s GDP rose 30.6 percent from NT$13.15 trillion to NT$17.18 trillion (US$425.5 billion to US$555.9 billion) during Ma’s presidency from 2008 to 2016, Huang wrote.

The average monthly wage during that period rose from NT$36,383 to NT$39,213, at a rate of “only 7.7 percent, far lower than the GDP growth rate,” Huang said.

If inflation is taken into consideration, then real wages were nearly stagnant, he added.

Tsai said it was irresponsible of Ma to blame the Sunflower movement and the DPP for the poor economy.

Ma’s comments “erased” the efforts of Tsai’s government and the public over the past three years, the National Development Council said.

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