The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday issued an official five-point demand to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) amid the intensifying scandal of corruption allegations surrounding former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), including an apology from Ma and a Cabinet reshuffle.
Lin, 44, has reportedly admitted taking a bribe of NT$63 million (US$2.15 million) from a metal recycling company and was detained for two months on Monday.
DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the party does not view the scandal that has rocked the nation and its political ramifications as “a competition between political parties,” but as “a crisis of the government and misfortune of the country.”
The DPP’s Central Standing Committee reached a consensus yesterday to make demands of Ma — an official apology to the nation, a Cabinet reshuffle, an immediate administrative investigation into the scandal, reorganization of state-run companies and the return of illegally seized party assets, the spokesperson said.
Ma should do all of the above to regain the public’s trust in his administration, which has been rocked by the scandal and a string of ill-fated policies, such as fuel and electricity price increases and the controversy over US beef imports, since Ma won re-election in January, Lin Chun-hsien said.
“After all the turmoil, the administration could no longer run this country without a new lineup,” he said.
As for the KMT’s illegally seized assets, the DPP said they have been “the root of all evil” and there would not be fair competition between political parties in Taiwan until the KMT returns its illegal assets, he said.
The DPP legislative caucus called a separate press conference to issue similar demands, with caucus convener Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) saying the scandal has ignited “the greatest governance crisis in the nation’s history.”
“It is a serious concern of ours that the people have lost confidence in Ma’s administration and ability to govern,” Ker said.
The recent string of governance failures also reflected a constitutional crisis as “Ma’s fingerprints were seen everywhere — from the Executive Yuan to the legislative branch — without Ma being held accountable for his interference,” Ker said.
Because of Ma’s interference, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has been little more than a puppet, Ker said.
He went on to ridicule Ma’s order to have 44 high-ranking government officials attend an anti-corruption seminar on Saturday, saying that steering clear of corruption is a basic value for any official.
Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said Lin Yi-shih was a prime example of a “spoiled rising political star,” since no previous Executive Yuan secretary-general had abused their power as Lin did.
DPP lawmakers warned that the corruption case involving Lin Yi-shih was only “the tip of the iceberg” and it was time for Ma to restrain his power.
“The former secretary-general is a repeat offender and could not do this alone,” DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said, adding that Lin was also involved in the water usage plan for the fourth-phase expansion project at the Central Taiwan Science Park in Erlin Township (二林), Changhua County, and the nomination of members of the National Communications Commission (NCC).
Ma should curb his presidential powers by appointing a premier who could govern on his own, she said, adding that Ma should also resign as KMT chairman because of numerous cases of vote-buying and corruption during his term in that post.