Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - Page 3 News List

SERVICES PACT: INTERVIEW: ‘True blue’ Liu says the nation’s biggest problem is Ma

In an interview with the ‘Liberty Times’ (the sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’), retired lieutenant general James Liu told reporter Tzou Jiing-wen that Taiwanese may be able to accept unfavorable government policies and shrinking incomes, but if cross-strait affairs are not handled properly, Taiwanese would not be able to make a living anymore, and the main problem with the nation’s governance lies with President Ma Ying-jeou

One solution is to tolerate Ma for another three years. However, I’m afraid many people could not endure the situation for so long.

The second way is to recall the president. The problem we have now is the main opposition party is not taking up the fight vigorously enough. Why is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) so hesitant to initiate a recall campaign? Because it is afraid of the KMT’s punitive actions. The DPP has no guts to jump-start a recall campaign, as it doesn’t want to be wounded in the process.

LT: The DPP may be concerned that a motion to recall the president would not be passed given the make-up of the legislature.

Liu: But the DPP can initiate recall motions against KMT lawmakers first. If a serious effort can be made, it is now easier to get recall motions approved against individual legislators, than in the past.

LT: To be successful, a vote to recall a lawmaker must attract half of all eligible voters in a given constituency, and of the valid votes, those voting to approve the recall motion must also be more than half of valid votes cast. In other words, people who do not vote are considered as not approving the recall motion. This is quite a high threshold to overcome.

Liu: Public grievance is at a very high level. If this is still not the time to initiate a recall of Ma, then people will think the main opposition party is not doing its job.

Ma’s approval rate is below 20 percent — this indicates that nearly everyone is fed up. How did Ma vilify Chen in the past? Ma said that when a sitting president is so unpopular as to enjoy only an 18 percent approval rate, that person knows no shame if he does not resign. Now, Ma is at 13 percent, but he is still quite content to remain president.

Ma doesn’t care when his “6-3-3” campaign pledge [annual GDP growth of 6 percent, annual per capita income of US$30,000 and an unemployment rate of less than 3 percent] bounced.

He would not do so when asked to donate half of his salary [for failing to deliver his 6-3-3 campaign pledge], because it would harm his personal interests.

Since Ma came to office five years ago, the only people not affected are his close associates, the high officials of his inner circles who together have enjoyed prestige, affluence and political power. All of their salaries, including Ma’s, have not diminished at all.

If domestic affairs are handled badly, people might still endure it despite reductions in real income.

However, if cross-strait relations are handled badly, it cuts off the livelihood of all Taiwanese. If this comes to pass, no one can earn a living, or have any means to survive.

We absolutely cannot tolerate this happening.

Translated by staff writers Jake Chung and Jason Pan

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