Government officials are the least trustworthy among the nation’s social groups, a poll published by the Social Ethics Association of Taiwan showed yesterday.
According to a report published by the Chinese-language United Daily News, results of the association’s Annual Trust Survey put government officials 14th on a list of 14 social groups.
The legislative body, along with city and county councilors, fared second-worst in the survey, followed by journalists.
The president and judges were among individuals least trusted by the public, ranking fourth and fifth-lowest respectively.
More than 50 percent of respondents expressed distrust in the president, lawmakers and other government officials.
The people most trusted by Taiwanese were family members, followed by doctors, and then elementary and junior-high school teachers, the survey showed.
Neighbors and civil servants in the “front line,” such as police officers and firefighters, also ranked in the top five of social groups most trusted by the public.
More than 60 percent of the respondents said that they have faith in civil servants, the survey showed.
Association director Teng Pei-yu (鄧佩瑜) said that government officials have ranked in the bottom three slots for 15 years in a row, in stark contrast from the time of former Minister of Economic Affairs and association founder Lee Kuo-ting (李國鼎), who is widely viewed as one of the key facilitators of the nation’s powerful economic performance in the 1980s.
Association codirector Hsu Shih-chun (許士軍) said that Taiwanese distrust officials because they are dissatisfied with the government’s performance.
Hsu attributed the phenomenon to the “appalling” Taiwanese political scene, which he said often strangles government policies.
Corporation heads suffered the biggest slump in the rankings, from 48 percent in 2013 to 40 percent this year, Hsu said, adding that the fall could be due to the plethora of food safety scandals in recent years.
Citing the 2001 edition of the survey, Hsu said that company management ranked the second-lowest for trustworthiness, 11th, but rallied to seventh.
The group ranked ninth this year, he added.
Meanwhile, social issues prompting mistrust included food safety issues; embezzlement and corruption by government officials; media personalities causing a widening rift between political camps; corporations pursuing profits at the cost of labor rights; and student-led protests, the survey showed.
The poll was conducted from April 26 to 30 among 1,078 Taiwanese adults in 20 cities and counties.
It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
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