Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday accused the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee of having deviated from its goal of promoting transitional justice, calling the committee’s actions “horrible” and “not befitting a normal, democratic nation.”
Ma made the remarks at the launch of the Taipei campaign headquarters of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who is running for party chairman.
Ma appeared to endorse KMT Vice Chairman Jason Hu (胡志強) as Hau’s running mate, saying the pair would “make a good team.”
After declaring his support for the two, Ma dedicated the rest of his speech to the assets committee, saying it has increasingly strayed from its founding principle of pursuing transitional justice and accused it of violating the rule of law.
Ma said that under German theories of the rule of law there should be no assumption of guilt in the absence of proof, but the party assets committee has assumed that the bulk of the KMT’s assets obtained since Aug. 15, 1944, are illegitimate.
Taiwan has had six direct presidential elections and three transfers of power, and is widely acknowledged as a democratic state by the international community, he said.
Ma added that when he was elected president in 2008, then-US president George W. Bush praised Taiwan as a beacon of democracy in Asia, and Taiwan had since then ranked well in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World reports.
“Do we need to conduct a deep re-evaluation of the nation like South Africa, post-Word War II Germany and Germany after unification did?” Ma asked.
“I do not see the need,” he added.
Asked about Ma’s comments, assets committee member Lien Li-jen (連立堅) said: “Ma must have been a poor student at school.”
When Germany implemented transitional justice, its legal system followed the principle of substantive rule of law that demanded individuals and political organizations prove their properties were legitimately obtained, Lien said.
During Ma’s term as minister of justice, the justice ministry in 2002 cited Germany’s experience in an opinion regarding the bill that latter became the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), he said.
“That Ma is not familiar with the affairs of his ministry showed he was not serious about his job,” Lien said.
Additional reporting by Yang Chun-hui