Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Senior KMT officials voice dissatisfaction with Ma, in private

By Peng Hsien-chun  /  Staff reporter

A number of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee members have recently said in private that the party needs to try to get closer to the people, work to understand the difficulties many are experiencing and engage in genuine communication rather than blame the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration for its problems, sources said.

The unnamed KMT committee members made the remarks amid growing public dissatisfaction with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) recent decision to increase fuel prices by about 10 percent and electricity rates by between 16.9 percent and 35 percent from May 15.

The committee held a meeting on Wednesday where a report on the “normalization of fuel prices and electricity rates” was presented.

Ma told the meeting that the price increases were “inevitable” and that the increases would be even greater if the government did not do something now.

The KMT has also said the DPP administration raised prices when it was in power and that the party’s presidential candidate in the Jan. 14 election, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), also supported “normalizing fuel prices and electricity rates.”

Some committee members have expressed dissatisfaction with the Ma administration’s strategy of blaming the DPP when criticized.

“Although global energy prices are going up, what the public is questioning is the way in which state-owned enterprises operate. The administration should therefore focus on the real problem and provide the public with better explanations instead of blaming the DPP administration’s policies,” the committee members said in a private setting.

Although the majority of pan-blue voters support the KMT and would never vote for the DPP, the party now compares itself with the DPP on every issue, and refuses to take responsibility, which is unacceptable to most of its supporters, the committee members said.

The price increases have also resulted in enormous pressure on grassroots-level party members. The party needed to appreciate the very real hardships many are experiencing, they said, adding that the administration should explain its policies and engage in an honest and open dialogue with the public.

Despite mounting complaints, the committee members said they could only voice their opinions in private, having been advised against doing so in an official setting.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer

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