Taiwanese are unhappy with life because of the government’s poor performance, and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is the person most responsible, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday.
“President Ma’s incompetence is a big reason why Taiwanese are unhappy,” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference, at which he and his fellow lawmakers Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) analyzed the recently published World Happiness Report (WHR).
The first ever WHR, released on Monday last week by the UN and Columbia University, ranked Taiwan as the 46th-happiest country in the world.
Various national statistics indicated that commodity prices, housing prices and the unemployment rate had increased during Ma’s term in office and that the president’s approval rating had fallen dramatically, Chen said.
Under the Ma administration, the “misery index,” the sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate, for the years between 2007 and last year was 5.7, 7.7, 5.0, 6.2 and 6.01 respectively, with an average of 6.23, which was about 20 percent higher than the average of 5.15 during the DPP’s eight years in power, Chen said.
The number of people who committed suicide increased by 40 percent from 19,163 in 2006 to 26,870 in 2010, he said.
The numbers showed that Taiwanese’s burden increased, while their incomes and purchasing power decreased, he added.
Having failed to “look people’s suffering in the eye,” Ma’s comments on recent fuel and electricity price rises were even more ridiculous as he described the price hikes as “a pain we must endure,” Chen said.
Taiwan’s performance in government efficiency and national finance both fell between 2010 and last year in the world competitiveness rankings produced by the Lausanne-based IMD Business School, Chen said.
The government plays a big role in people’s sense of well-being, Lee said.
Taiwan ranked only 58th in the WHR’s category of life satisfaction, Lee said, and the reasons could be long working hours, educational pressure, poor governance, the increasing wealth gap or deteriorating living standards.
Recent commodity price hikes added fuel to the fire.
“Taiwanese have been tolerant of the government, but that does not entitle the administration to ignore hardships resulting from wrong or flawed public policies,” Lee said.