If one month was enough to turn the economy around, the past four-plus years were like a wasted dream, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday in response to a comment by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that the Cabinet could “make things happen in a month.”
“If one month is enough, what has the government been doing in the past 52 months? Today is Sept. 25. We’re ready to see magical things happen by Oct. 25,” DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.
Ma and the Cabinet, led by Premier Sean Chen (陳冲), who survived a no-confidence vote in the legislature on Saturday, have come under heavy fire as the economy continues to languish.
Ma was quoted as saying in a meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers on Monday night that “one month would be enough [for the Cabinet] to make good things happen if we work hard.”
DPP lawmakers did not appreciate the president’s comment either, with Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) saying that Cabinet members in charge of economic affairs “should return their salaries in the past five years because they had done nothing during that period.”
DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) expressed dissatisfaction with Ma’s decision to retain the Cabinet’s economic team, saying he did not expect the government to deliver anything 30 days later because “old dogs can’t learn new tricks.”
“Talk is easy. The important thing is to walk the walk,” former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said in response to a media inquiry on Ma’s comment on the sidelines of an event organized by Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce yesterday.
Lee also touched on the Cabinet’s decision to delay a plan to increase the minimum monthly wage next year, saying that job creation was more important because “wages cannot be adjusted if there are no jobs at all.”
Lee said the government should look at the bigger picture and the core issues of Taiwan’s economy.
He said the nation should pay attention to the liberalization of the banking industry and its overdependence on China, which has created a big wealth gap. He added that the government should privatize state-owned enterprises and help industries with innovation.
The DPP caucus blasted the Cabinet’s decision to holding off a planned minimum wage hike, accusing Ma of violating his campaign pledges and demanding that Council of Labor Affairs Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) step down.
Ma has promised to present a “sensible economy” that will improve people’s well-being, but his administration has suspended a planned monthly pay hike and wants to raise the cap on foreign workers to 40 percent of a company’s total employees, DPP Legislator Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) said.
“We do sense something. We sense that this is a Cabinet lacks compassion for the ordinary people. This is a Cabinet that is doing things not to lift the economy, but the opposite,” she said.