President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has betrayed his pledge to divest the assets of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), as a draft political party act passed by the Executive Yuan will not create a level playing field for all political parties, the pan-green camp said yesterday.
According to the draft approved by the Cabinet on Thursday, political parties must not operate or invest in profit-making enterprises and must transfer ownership of or sell off shares in such enterprises within two years of the legislation being enacted. If they failed to sell off the assets at the end of the two-year period, they would have to place them in a trust within six months.
The KMT took over the assets of the Japanese colonial government and countless private businesses and individuals when it fled China and took control of Taiwan after World War II, a move many of its detractors have described as outright theft.
The KMT pledged in 2005 to sell all of its assets, which have made it the richest political party in the world, its critics say. The party says it has placed most of its assets in a trust.
“The draft act is disappointing and is a strategy to legalize the status of the KMT’s assets, which have been placed in a trust and have been a disgrace to Taiwan,” DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) told a press conference yesterday.
Ma has never kept his promise to donate all profits from these assets in trust to charity and not to fund the party’s election campaigns with them, Lin said.
The evidence shows that Ma is a flat-out liar, Lin said, as the KMT earned NT$10.17 billion (US$340 million) from 2006 to last year, with half of the NT$440 million expenditure on Ma’s re-election campaign funded by KMT assets.
DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), who was touring Miaoli County, said: “Ma has tarnished his credibility and has betrayed his pledge [with the draft political party act] as the KMT’s unjust, ill-gotten assets have been a target of public anger.”
“The move to legalize the assets would arouse more public anger and disgust, and they will use the ballot to punish a party that thinks money can buy everything,” he said.
DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said it was shame that Taiwan has yet to pass a political party act 25 years after the lifting of martial law.
However, the “money-laundering-like” draft act, which would ensure that the KMT continues to receive huge dividends, would not change the unbalanced playing field, she said.
She added that the DPP would do whatever it takes to monitor the screening of the act in the upcoming legislative session.
Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said the position of his party on the issue has been clear and firm.
“We insist that all the KMT’s ill-gotten assets, including properties, buildings, stocks and cash, should be returned to the national treasury,” Hsu said.