Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Opposition counts down to Ma’s pledge deadline

‘ON A CLOUD’:Ma promised last month to improve the economy within one month, which pan-green politicians say shows the administration is detached from reality

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Members of labor groups hold a press conference in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday announcing a protest march to be held in Taipei on Sunday, calling on the government to pay more attention to labor rights.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

Pan-green camp politicians yesterday began a 48-hour countdown to the date that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised Taiwanese economic progress, saying they were not optimistic.

Under pressure to revive the moribund economy and amid widespread discontent, Ma said on Sept. 24 that the government could achieve “improved well-being and a better economic situation in a month.”

“We feel a sense of pain, antipathy and disgust,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference in the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Pan went on to criticize Ma’s latest remarks, which said that his government was “the best administration in the country’s history,” saying that the Ma administration has been a “bloodsucking government” that always held Taiwanese responsible for its failed policies.

Pan said the administration did break many records, among them the highest unemployment rate, the worst government finances and the highest prices of fuel and electricity, adding that Ma’s policies have created social division, as a result of policies such as preferential treatment for active or retired public servants.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said he had not sensed any positive change in the past month, but sensed that normal pension programs were on the brink of bankruptcy.

“Slogans will not make people’s lives better. Better livelihoods for the people can only be achieved by stabilizing commodity prices, revitalizing domestic economic activities and ensuring fairness and social justice,” Tsai said.

The government was like an “administration on a cloud,” meaning it has been “so detached from the people that it could not understand what Taiwanese are thinking about and why they are suffering,” DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said.

DPP Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) said Taiwanese are “experiencing a sense of inferiority, as well as a sense of helplessness at being unable to change the ‘status quo.’”

People also seemed to find the president and the Cabinet untrustworthy and could not help but feel the disparities between different classes and generations due to unfair policies, he said.

“You simply can’t turn those things around in 30 days,” the legislator added.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said the public and the DPP were extremely disappointed at the Ma administration, adding that the party would not rule out hitting the street for protests and initiate a proposal to recall Ma after May.

Despite Ma’s pledge, there has been nothing but bad news during the past month, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) caucus whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said at a separate press conference.

Most people saw how the government squandered its budget in the past four weeks, including more than NT$4 million (US$136,785) for an advertisement that received heavy criticism and the reported financial difficulties of various pension funds due to poor management.

“The unemployment rate in September was 4.32 percent, slightly down from 4.4 percent in August, but could it be seen as much of a positive development?” she said.

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