After an article in the latest edition of the Economist magazine called President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) a bumbler, politicians across party lines yesterday said that Ma should thoroughly reflect on his leadership and governance practices.
In the piece entitled “Ma the bumbler,” the global publication said that in addition to the dismal international economy, “Mr. Ma’s leadership is also to blame” for some of Taiwan’s problems.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Li-huan (楊麗環) urged Ma, who is also the party’s chairman, to “give thorough reflection on what went wrong” instead of “being quick to come to his own defense as he always does” when people offer him suggestions.
The four-term KMT lawmaker said she considered Ma’s leadership “quite problematic.”
Ma’s office has been staffed with sycophants and he has always turned a deaf ear to what people outside his inner circle have told him, even the honest advice, Yang said.
The way Ma rules the country has hampered its progress and economic development, she said.
“He never listens to us and thinks that we complain because we were not offered government positions or because we simply disparage him. Now the criticism has come from abroad. I really hope that he can take things seriously,” she said.
KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said the Ma administration should learn to discuss policy issues before making major decisions.
Ma has “headed in the right direction” with his reform plans, as evidenced by the price adjustments for electricity and fuel, the imposition of a tax on capital gains on shares and the limited coverage of year-end pension bonuses for government retirees, but the policies were “hastily enacted without due consideration of their impact and without input from lawmakers,” he said.
“The road to reform would not have been so hard if he had sufficiently recognized the importance of communication in the process of policy-making,” Chen said.
KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said he held the same view as Chen did.
Taking the dual increase of fuel and electricity prices as an example, lawmakers would have suggested that prices be raised in stages or be implemented after Taiwan Power Co and CPC Corp, Taiwan improve their performance, he said.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) declined to comment on the article as he said that the Presidential Office had offered a response on Friday.
When asked for comments by the press, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) yesterday first appeared reticent to answer as he said he did not really know why the magazine ran the article.
However, soon after he said that the Economist is renowned for its credibility internationally and that “there must be some objective facts that lead it to come to the view [stated in the article.]”