President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) Double Ten National Day speech and the policies laid out in his “golden decade” national development plan were flawed and fraudulent for their disconnection and betrayal of the people, panelists told a forum yesterday.
“It is puzzling that Ma keeps laying out policies that go well beyond his presidential term,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Shu-ying (黃淑英) told the forum organized by the Taiwan Brain Trust to discuss Ma’s national day speech and golden decade plan.
The best example was Ma’s “6-3-3” campaign pledge of 2008 — annual GDP growth of 6 percent, unemployment of less than 3 percent and a per capita income of US$30,000 — which Ma said was a goal to be achieved by 2016, Huang said.
While Ma’s term ends next year, Huang said, he has laid out a five-year short-term plan and a 10-year long-term plan for his population policy as well as a pledge to give all workers two days off a week in five years.
Since Ma has failed to delivered most of his campaign platforms, including the 6-3-3 pledge and the “i-Taiwan 12 projects,” People First Party (PFP) legislative candidate Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄) said it was “meaningless [for Ma] to talk about the future.”
With his landslide victory in the 2008 presidential election, Ma has enjoyed an unprecedented mandate in Taiwan’s history, which should have empowered him to carry out ambitious reforms and development, Liu said.
“However, Ma’s weakness and performance have been by and large disappointing,” he said.
“Ma loves to refer to numbers to describe his achievements and policies. People tend to feed off numbers better, but at the same time, it is easier for us to evaluate his performance by examining those numbers,” Taiwan Thinktank chairman Chen Po-chih (陳博志) said.
Ma said that Taiwanese businesses would be able to save tariffs of NT$300 billion (US$9.87 billion) after signing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China, while the actual tariffs saved this year could be as little as NT$3 billion, Chen said.
Ma has also listed many goals that are out of his control or meaningless, such as lowering the cancer death rate by 20 percent in 10 years and increasing the Internet penetration rate among women from 70 percent to 77 percent in 10 years, he said, adding that the cancer death rate would be largely impacted by new drugs and therapies, while Internet penetration would be influenced by new technology.
The panelists also expressed concerns over Ma’s emphasis on Chinese culture and “Zhonghua minzu” (中華民族) in both his National Day speech and the golden decade plan, which they said reflected Ma’s inclination toward the “one China” principle.
In one of his press conferences on the golden decade plan, Ma mentioned the term “Chinese culture” 13 times without recognizing Taiwan’s diverse background and Austronesian culture, Chen said.
“In fact, the word ‘diverse’ only appeared once in Ma’s speech when he mentioned ‘diverse artistic creation.’” Chen said.