President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended the function of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Central Standing Committee (CSC) amid concerns about the weakening of the party’s highest decisionmaking body, and promised to consider the opinions of the committee.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, said the CSC remained the party’s highest decisionmaking body, while top party officials and government officials also discussed government policies in another weekly meeting, and major policies — US beef imports, the second-generation health insurance program and Chinese students in Taiwan, for example — were all discussed at the CSC before the government presented them to the public.
“I pay great attention to CSC members’ proposals and opinions, and the Cabinet also addresses issues they bring up. It’s not true to say that the CSC has made no decisions or taken any actions,” he said at the KMT headquarters.
Ma made the comments in response to criticisms outlined by former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien (連勝文), who slammed the CSC’s record.
Lien, the son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and a former CSC member, said in a recent interview that the weekly CSC meetings have become routine and that the committee lacks actual power to make decisions on major policies.
Having been seen as one of the KMT’s political stars and a potential candidate in the next Taipei mayoral elections, Sean Lien did not stand in the CSC elections last week and said that participating in the committee would not bring him any sense of achievement.
Ma yesterday insisted the CSC is part of the KMT’s communication mechanism and assists in the government’s policymaking process.
“In a democratic era, the party serves as an election machine during election campaigns and when there are no elections, the party should assist the government with policymaking. The time when the party goes beyond the government in policymaking is over,” he said.
The CSC’s 32 members meet weekly to approve major policies. However, the committee’s role was weakened after Ma was first elected party chairman in 2005, when he began meeting with party officials to discuss major decisions in a separate weekly meeting.
Ma said that a separate meeting on Tuesday was a meeting with staff and aides to discuss government policies and that it would not replace the CSC.