President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Cabinet’s repeated U-turns on major policies — including imports of US pork, the cancelation of seven national holidays and nuclear power — have triggered a free fall in the new government’s approval rating, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) started its administration with self-contradictory policies and gaffe-ridden officials, leading to clashes between the Cabinet and the legislature, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) said on the performance of the new administration.
“The Cabinet’s approval rating is nearing a ‘death cross,’ because it is a mere 7 percentage points higher than its disapproval rating of 33.8 percent,” Wang said.
“Tsai promised to revive the economy and solve problems, but what her government has been doing is exacting political vengeance and creating more problems, while legislation and policy execution have been at a standstill,” Wang said.
“When it was an opposition party, the DPP was against imports of US pork containing ractopamine, but now that it is in power, it has changed its position and said imports of pork containing traces of ractopamine [if approved] would be regulated by international standards,” Wang said.
“The same flip-flopping occurred over the proposed deregulation of foodstuffs from five prefectures in Japan [affected by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in 2011],” she said.
“While the DPP-dominant legislature in March rejected a Ministry of Labor proposal to reduce the number of annual holidays by seven days, the DPP administration reached an agreement with business groups to cut the holidays. The DPP is playing a hoax on workers,” Wang said.
The DPP promised to build a nuclear-free nation by 2025, but Premier Lin Chuan (林全) earlier this month said the government was assessing the possibility of restarting the long-shuttered No. 1 reactor at the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), which drew heavy criticism from lawmakers across party lines, Wang said.
Lin has also disagreed with Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) over measures to cut energy consumption, with the premier rejecting Chang’s suggestion asking department stores to close from 1pm to 3pm to reduce power consumption, Wang said.
“The Tsai administration is a disorganized band, with everyone singing different notes. That is why its rating is in a free fall and why the disapproval rating of the Cabinet has soared by 16 percentage points in just more than a month’s time,” Wang said.
“Tsai should clarify her stance on important issues, such as imports of US pork, and she should be on the front line to solve problems, instead of letting Lin take the bullets for her,” she added.
“To finance long-term health care, the government plans to increase the business, estate and gift taxes, and it also plans to increase water and electricity prices,” said Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦), another KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general.
“We are concerned that all the Tsai administration can do is raise taxes without boosting the economy,” Hu said.
Executive Yuan spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) yesterday said that none of the KMT’s accusations were true, except for a trial policy on toll-free nighttime travel on freeways during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
“The KMT’s distortion of the government’s policies is not helpful to social harmony and progress,” Tung said.
The Ministry of Labor yesterday announced that the seven holidays would be restored.
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