President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said fighting corruption was at the top of his administration’s agenda, adding that his government was “less corrupt” than the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration.
Most people expect their government to be clean and efficient, and to offer quality services, Ma said while meeting the winners of this year’s model civil servants competition at the Presidential Office in the morning.
“I hope we will work toward that goal,” he said. “More people pay more attention to a clean government because without it, it will be very difficult for a government to be efficient or provide good services.”
Ma said Taiwan’s global ranking on a government corruption list was 39th place when he came into office in 2008, but had improved to 37th place last year and 33rd place this year.
“It’s not perfect, but it is much better than before,” he said. “Fighting corruption is an important policy and I’m happy to see that our efforts have produced some positive results.”
Lauding the quality of public servants, Ma said he hoped they would be more proactive and kind to the people they serve. They should also refrain from accepting free meals or taking gifts. Once they developed the habit of rejecting unnecessary gifts and meals, they would be less corrupt, he said.
“You must remember that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he said. “People’s trust in the government is the biggest asset a government can have, but corruption is the most powerful corrosion of such trust.”
Ma said that in the past two-and-a-half years, the state and local governments had seen changes to their structure. The central government is to be downsized from 37 to 29 agencies and some counties and cities will be upgraded to a higher administrative status or merged to become special municipalities. The purpose of this was to elevate their competitiveness, which is hard to recover once it is lost, he said.
Ma said Taiwan should avoid the example of Ireland, which had the highest GNP in Europe four years ago, its impressive economic performance earning it the nickname the “Celtic Tiger.”
However, things began to change about a decade ago and the global economic downturn made things worse, he said. Ireland’s economy contracted 7 percent last year, causing another wave of emigration, he said.
“It has a lot to do with the efforts of all citizens, but we cannot deny the role the government plays at this juncture,” he said.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung