Taiwan’s international status and economic growth have improved since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took over the reins of the government, Ma’s campaign office said yesterday, as it sought to counter criticism from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers.
The evidence speaks for itself, Ma’s campaign office spokesperson Ying Wei (殷瑋) said.
DPP legislators have long been on the side that “creates chaos in Taiwan,” Ying said, following criticism by opposition lawmakers over Ma’s statement that he was just “righting the wrongs” committed by the former DPP administration.
Ying said they were now criticizing the administration of Ma, who is running for re-election in January, because they could find no substantial fault with his policy and even got their facts wrong.
Ying cited the examples of DPP legislators Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) and Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who have accused Ma of failing to push through with his campaign promise in 2008 to phase out two of the four freeway toll stations in Sinshih (新市) and Baihe (白河).
Ma has already said that phasing out the Baihe toll station was not included in his election campaign platform and that it was a suggestion put forth by the then-Tainan County party headquarters, Ying said.
The president is aware of and puts great stock in the feelings of the public, Ying said, adding that Ma instructed the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to research the issue as soon as he took office.
However, the ministry felt that once such an exception was made, other counties and cities would also make the same request, Ying said.
On the basis of practicality and fairness, the ministry agreed to phase out all current toll stations and change the system to mileage-based tolls, Ying said, adding that the system would be fully implemented by 2013.
Defending Ma’s economic record, Ying said the numbers spoke for themselves.
Before the DPP administration took over in 2000, Taiwan’s average GDP growth was 6.1 percent, Ying said.
During the eight years of DPP government, average GDP growth fell to 4.4 percent, while the economies of the three other three Asian Dragons — South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong — soared.
With an average growth of only 4.4 percent, who messed up the economy, Ying asked.
During Ma’s three years in office, despite being hit by the global financial crisis, average economic growth still hit 3.2 percent, ranking it second among the Four Asian Dragons, Ying said
Economic growth last year hit 10.88 percent, the highest in 24 years, Ying said, but he did not mention that came from a much-lower base, when the economy contracted 1.9 percent in 2009.
If such accomplishments are a “mess,” then what should the DPP’s economic performance be called, Ying asked.
Everyone has memories of the “chaos” during the DPP administration and this is why the Ma administration must “right the wrongs,” Ying said.
If the DPP does not want to reflect on the role it played in causing “political chaos,” it should at least be rational when monitoring the government as the party in opposition, Ying said.
The DPP should base its criticism on facts and not create more “anarchy” by criticizing for criticism’s sake, he said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER