The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gave President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) an “F” on his year-end economic scorecard yesterday, urging people to hit the streets to voice their anger and demanding Ma reshuffle his Cabinet.
“Ma has bounced another check that promised to make a ‘sensible’ economic recovery in three months. The President and his Cabinet have flunked in their economic performances,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference.
Ma said on Sept. 25 that the Cabinet would turn the economy around and make improvements people can sense within three months.
The DPP cited various statistics and rankings to prove that Ma, who boasted about Taiwan’s improvement in the World Bank’s business environment survey last week, had failed to improve the economy and people’s livelihoods.
The 2.97 percent average GDP growth during Ma’s five years in office pales in comparison with former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) eight-year average of 4.42 percent growth between 2000 and 2008, Lin said.
The averaged “misery index,” the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate, of 6.16 during Ma’s terms was the worst among all of Taiwan’s presidents, Lin said.
Taiwan’s GDP estimate of 1.1 percent growth this year and its export decline rate was the worst among major Asian economies, Lin said.
Taiwan’s current unemployment rate of 4.3 percent was the worst among the four Asian Tigers, which include South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, and its stock performance this year was second-worst among major Asian stock markets.
Workers’ salary levels are now back to where they were 13 years ago, he said, adding that the number of low-income households has increased by 56 percent — from 93,032 to 141,767 — in five years.
Last year, Taiwan’s foreign direct investment of minus US$1.96 billion ranked second to last among 212 countries, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
“All information points to the most incompetent administration in three decades, which has the gall to claim that it is the best administration in history,” Lin said.
Since Ma has refused to communicate with the public about his reform plans and policies and has rejected the DPP’s proposal for a national affairs conference, the only way for people to have their voices heard is to participate in a massive demonstration the DPP will hold on Jan. 13, Lin said.
“While Ma said [Premier Sean] Chen (陳?) had passed the test, various surveys showed that Taiwanese did not think so. We demand an immediate Cabinet reshuffle,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference at the legislature in Taipei.
DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said Ma should not double as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman.
DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said that while Ma boasted about last month’s record-high export orders, he failed to mention declining export values, because most of the products were manufactured in China.
Three of the five worst annual GDP performances between 1951 and this year — 0.73 percent in 2008, minus-1.81 percent in 2009 and an estimated less than 1 percent this year — came under the Ma administration, DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.
“Ma and his administration should be held accountable for their poor performance,” Tsai said.