President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has squandered public funds on meaningless projects and his performance pales in comparison with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the DPP said yesterday.
While Ma’s re-election campaign has recently used TV and print advertisements to promote his frugality, Ma has actually been “squandering public funds while saving his own money,” former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) said.
“The DPP does not encourage the deification of any politician, which you can only find in a country like North Korea,” Yu said.
Yu is part of the DPP’s “interpellation group on national affairs,” which includes academics, former premiers and officials of the former DPP administration, set up to examine Ma’s performance through daily questions related to cross-strait, domestic and foreign affairs, as well as defense policies, until election day on Jan. 14.
Taiwan’s national debt increased by NT$1.3 trillion (US$429 billion) during Ma’s term in office, the group said.
Ma responded to the criticism, saying that the increased debt, which was spent on investment and infrastructure, would generate future output.
“We would like to ask President Ma where is the output from the NT$58.3 billion you spent on expanding domestic demand, the NT$85.6 billion spent on consumption vouchers, the NT$13 billion spent on the Taipei International Flora Expo, the NT$230 million spent on the Dreamers rock musical and the NT$3.2 billion spent on the celebrations for the ROC [Republic of China] centenary?” Yu asked.
The DPP has always been able to make the most of a limited budget, Yu said, citing past records.
He cited the example of Lanyan Museum in Yilan County, governed by DPP Commissioner Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), saying that the museum park cost NT$1.4 billion in land, planning and construction, but has had a revenue of NT$80 million and an attendance of 2 million since its launch in June last year.
“The KMT government spent NT$13 billion, almost 10 times the cost of Lanyan Museum, on the Taipei Flora Expo. Did the expo create any long-term output for the public?” he said.
Financial reform, a national highway network, the Hsuehshan Tunnel, the Central Taiwan Science Park and flood control on the Keelung River, among others, were all accomplished during the first term of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with a lesser budget than originally allocated, Yu said.
For example, the DPP accomplished flood control of the Keelung River with NT$30 billion, about one-fifth of the original budget of NT$150 billion planned during the KMT administration, he said.