The deadline has passed and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has failed to deliver on his promise to give Taiwanese economic progress within 30 days, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday.
Under pressure to revive the moribund economy and amid widespread discontent, Ma said on Sept. 24 that the government could achieve “improved well-being and a better economic situation in a month.”
“What we have seen in the past month was more furloughs and people worrying about not receiving their pension when they retire ... It seems to us that Ma has issued so many ‘bounced checks’ with his pledges that people don’t even waste time criticizing him anymore,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.
Su reiterated the DPP’s action plan for a better economy, which was announced late last month and which contained four main points — strengthening industrial development, empowering local governments, helping young people find jobs and assisting households with their finances.
Ma should spend less time on slogans and more time on working out efficient policies, DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference at the legislature in Taipei.
“According to surveys conducted by various media outlets, more than 90 percent of respondents said they have not noticed any improvement in the economy,” DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.
“You know that Ma does not have the slightest clue about economics when he pledged to turn around the economy in a month,” TSU Legislator Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said. “The saddest part about all this was that government agencies had to scramble to create a string of policies, plans or projects to make it look like the administration was moving the economy forward.”
Separately yesterday, Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) said the government was seeking to boost the economy and be responsible for the country’s well-being, without fixating on whether the public could “sense” the improvements.
“[Whether economic progress has been made] is a subjective matter,” he said.
The Executive Yuan has had many achievements that have been praised and the nation’s performance in international rankings is remarkable,” he added.
Chen said he had highlighted only a few of the more than 100 plans put forward by various ministries to “power-up” the economy in order not to overburden the media and that the majority of the plans are nearly accomplished.
Citing as an example a proposal that would stop requiring people to routinely renew their vehicle licenses, which is scheduled to take effect early next year, Chen said the new policy would benefit 15 million motorcyclists and 6 million drivers.
“If people still cannot feel an improvement after that, then I am speechless,” he added.
Meanwhile, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said that the economy has proven to be resilient, citing the latest assessment by international credit rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch Ratings, which maintained their sovereign debt ratings for Taiwan with a “stable country” outlook this year.