Sun, Aug 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Neil Peng urges public to recall ‘bad’ lawmakers

Fed up with what it says is the arbitrary policymaking of President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration — as seen in its demolition of private residences, building of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and autocratic handling of the cross-strait service trade pact — civic group Constitution 133 Alliance has launched a recall campaign against lawmakers it says have forsaken their duty to be the voice of the people. In an interview with ‘Liberty Times’ (sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’) reporter Tzou Jiing-wen, screenwriter and author Neil Peng, one of the founders of the newly formed alliance, called on the public to square up to incompetent lawmakers and stop them from “bullying” Taiwanese by subjecting them to recall bids

LT: Issues such as the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s (新北市) Gongliao District (貢寮) and the cross-strait service trade pact are not as black and white as the case of late army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘). Do you think the public has reached a consensus on these issues?

Peng: Taking the nuclear plant as an example, recent public opinion polls have shown that, after months of discussions and debates on the fate of the unfinished plant, the number of people opposed to nuclear energy far exceeds those who favor it.

This shows that the public has come to realzie that the government’s statistics on nuclear energy and the plant are outright lies and deceptive strategies, and that the Ma administration is made up of a bunch of frauds. They have realized that it is only these fraudsters who are benefiting from political manipulation.

Even though these issues may not be as sensational as the Hung case, they are closely intertwined with the safety and livelihoods of future generations.

In addition to being the determining factor in the fate of the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises, the service pact could fuel land and property speculations, which would make a few individuals wealthy, but be detrimental to the well-being of the majority.

The bursting of most economic bubbles usually starts with property speculation, which results in a misallocation of capital toward housing that inevitably leads to a serious national financial crisis. The upside of all this is that people are paying more attention to these issues than they did before and I believe it will only take a little more time for them to start listening.

We all know that ratifying the service trade agreement will be tantamount to opening the nation’s door to a Chinese Trojan horse.

If people allow the back-room deal to be written into law without subjecting it to close and thorough scrutiny, they will have no one else to blame but themselves for the suffering that will ensue.

However, what we are seeing now is people becoming acutely aware of the dangerous impact the treaty may have, as the government stubbornly turns a deaf ear to their repeated calls for it to re-negotiate the pact.

If the government insists on defying the people’s will, the public will eventually find a way to set these wrongs right.

Sure, people are forgetful, but the alliance will be there to refresh their memories by compiling records of each lawmaker’s remarks during legislative sessions, which as a matter of record, are something they can neither conceal nor deny.

Taiwanese voters have been letting politicians off the hook too easily for too long. That is why we are holding officials to account for the mistakes they make today and for all the wrong they have done over the years.

Ma’s plummeting approval ratings may be the result of his inaction on and disregard of a range of national issues, such as the KMT’s illegitimate assets, the pending “Sunshine bills” and his broken “6-3-3” campaign promise [a pledge to achieve an annual economic growth rate of 6 percent, annual per capita income of US$30,000 and annual unemployment of less than 3 percent.]

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