President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday encouraged young members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to pay more attention to public affairs and avoid becoming unpopular politicians. He made the call as the party elected the leader of its Youth League.
Ma, who also doubles as KMT chairman, joined the party’s six-judge panel to select the league’s leader from five contestants. He said the KMT formed the league to inject new blood into the party to boost reform and inspire more young people to be more engaged in national affairs.
“Although the KMT is a political party, we do not have to focus on political issues everyday. It is equally important to care about society, address the social issues of minorities and the environment and promote positive values to push society forward. KMT Youth League members should avoid becoming unpopular politicians who fail to earn admiration from the people,” he said at KMT headquarters.
Ma’s comments came in the wake of the major corruption scandal involving the former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世), who was the KMT’s first Youth League leader.
Lin is accused of accepting NT$63 million in bribes in 2010 from businessman Chen Chi-hsiang (陳啟祥) to help Chen secure a contract from a subsidiary of China Steel and, between February and March this year, after Lin was appointed Cabinet secretary-general, of then demanding another NT$83 million from Chen.
Ma quizzed the five candidates on several issues, including the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台).
A 23-year-old graduate student, Ling Tao (凌濤) from National Chiao Tung University, was elected as the league’s leader.
Ling will also become a member of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee and take part in the party’s highest decision-making body.
When asked to comment on Lin’s involvement in the corruption scandal, Ling said he would use his position to highlight issues concerning the young generation.
“It is important for me to address issues that young people care about and try to make changes to the party and society. It’s not about what this position will bring to me personally,” he said.