Thu, May 19, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Ma’s three years receive mixed reviews

SCORECARD:DPP officials said Ma deserves a ‘failing grade’ for unfulfilled campaign promises, but government statistics indicate he has met nearly 90% of his pledges

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will mark his third year in power tomorrow with a mixed scorecard of undelivered campaign promises and increasing public disappointment, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.

Most of the incomplete spending promises are related to infrastructure projects, including extensions to the MRT systems in Taipei and Greater Taichung, freeway expansion and the opening of a southern branch of the National Palace Museum, the lawmakers said.

In addition, Ma has also maintained a consistently low approval rating amid rising income disparities, stagnant wages and mounting public concern about the nation’s international stature, they said.

“Breaking campaign promises has become something of a habit for Ma,” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said. “Voters shouldn’t give Ma a chance to break any more promises ... or cash anymore blank checks.”

More than half of Taiwanese said they were not satisfied with the president’s performance, according to a Global Views magazine poll conducted last month. Ma’s approval in the form of public trust has also remained in the 30 percent range.

The public’s disappointment comes in part from the lavish infrastructure projects that Ma promised during his campaign, but has yet to deliver, the lawmakers said. Some projects have not even left the planning stages with less than a year before the next presidential election, they added.

DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) accused Ma of failing to deliver on an MRT extension from Taipei to Keelung, a planned Light Rail Transit line for Taipei’s Shezi (社子), as well as the Sanying MRT line.

During a “long-stay” campaign in rural areas of the country, Ma had also pledged to support increased Aboriginal autonomy, increasing the number of Taroko Express trains on the east coast and promised an ambitious plan to build a southern branch of the National Palace Museum.

Ma also pledged to open an Aerotropolis in Taoyuan County, build an international harbor in Mailiao (麥寮), Yunlin County and extend the freeway system on the east coast.

None of these ideas have come to fruition, Wong said.

“It’s a huge disappointment to see one broken promise after another,” she said. “There appears to have been at least one broken promise in every single city and county.”

The DPP said it plans to reveal a series of poll numbers today that will continue to cast doubt on Ma’s popularity — as well as information on how the president has ignored Aboriginal needs.

Party officials said that Ma has received a “failing grade.”

However, government statistics suggest otherwise.

According to the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, which tracks the progress of campaign promises, Ma has completed or is close to completing nearly 90 percent of the pledges made on the campaign trail in 2008.

Ma yesterday also expressed optimism that the remaining promises would be met before his re-election next year.

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