Former anti-corruption campaign director Shih Ming-te (施明德) yesterday accused President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of abusing his authority by appointing former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), echoing calls for Ma to step down as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman.
Shih, a former Democratic Progressive Party chairman who has broken ties with the party, in 2006 launched a campaign against then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) over a string of corruption scandals, attracting thousands of supporters to join the so-called “red shirt army” anti-corruption movement.
While the organizers defined the campaign as a social movement against corruption, many politicians from the pan-blue camp participated in or voiced support for the movement.
In a recent interview with Chinese-language newspaper United Daily News, Shih questioned the KMT’s party-state system and said Ma should take responsibility for his appointment of Lin, who is at the center of a corruption scandal, and step down as KMT chairman.
Shih said “Ma went beyond the authority of the premier” by appointing Lin as Executive Yuan secretary-general, and that, in light of the bribery allegations centered on Lin, it was “time for Ma to give the helm of the KMT to others and focus his efforts on being the president.”
Shih said the KMT had failed to rid itself of its “black gold” reputation, while declining to say whether a new anti-corruption campaign would be launched following Lin’s bribery case.
In related news, the KMT yesterday dismissed a report in yesterday’s Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) that Ma had tried to shift the blame for Lin’s corruption case by claiming that the appointment of Lin as the KMT’s policy committee director was made by former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄).
According to the story, Ma dismissed criticism against him for entrusting Lin with major posts in the party and the administration, and said at the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday that he did not finalize all of Lin’s appointments.
The 44-year-old Lin was one of the KMT’s rising stars, and had served as the KMT’s legislative caucus whip and director of the KMT’s policy committee before being appointed to the Executive Yuan.
KMT spokesperson Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) yesterday dismissed the story and said Ma promised at the Central Standing Committee to take responsibility for Lin’s appointment, because the appointment was a decision made by him and Premier Sean Chen (陳冲).
“President Ma said at the committee that as the KMT chairman, he should take full responsibility over Lin’s corruption case, and he urged all party members to maintain integrity and fight corruption,” she said.