The majority of Taiwanese are dissatisfied with the performance of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration over the past year, with criticism focusing on its handling of cross-strait ties, food safety and the wealth gap, according to the results of a survey released yesterday by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation think tank.
The dissatisfaction ratings for the Tsai administration’s performance in 15 areas — including Tsai’s pledge to govern with humility, diplomacy, economy, food safety, youth employment and the Cabinet’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Project — all exceeded 40 percent, which is a “rare feat” and “unfortunate” for the nation, foundation chief executive officer Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) told a news conference in Taipei.
According to respondents, Tsai’s worst failing was her handling of food safety, with 71.3 percent of those polled saying they were dissatisfied, while 63.6 percent panned her handling of cross-strait relations, 62.4 percent disliked the Cabinet headed by Premier Lin Chuan (林全), 58.7 percent gave Tsai herself the thumbs down and 56.9 percent said there was a lack of unity within the administration.
Tsai’s priorities, which are pension reform and promoting transitional justice, are at odds with the public’s priorities, which are cross-strait ties, food safety and the wealth gap, Chinese Culture University associate professor Wu Yen-te (吳盈德) said.
Tsai has focused too much energy on transitional justice and pension reform, while neglecting the issues that the public actually cares about, Wu said.
Tsai’s latest iteration of the cross-strait model, that focuses on a “new situation, new survey and new model” did not help Taiwan secure a seat at this year’s World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, he said.
Tsai’s administration has created a divide in society, evidenced by the narrowing of the divide in the number of people those polled who were for and against pension reform, Chinese Culture University professor Yang Tai-shun (楊泰順) said.
This is because Tsai has been reluctant to propose pension cuts for workers in the private sector, focusing all her efforts on downsizing pensions for civil servants, he said.
Tsai is afraid of addressing deficits in the labor pension system because she does not want to incur the wrath of the nation’s 10 million workers, KMT Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) said.
That reluctance is why after all the efforts the administration has made to keep the nation’s pension systems afloat, it has only managed to push back an anticipated bankruptcy from 2027 to 2029, he said.
A spike in the percentage of people concerned about food safety was caused by recent incidents involving eggs contaminated by dioxin residue, the government’s relaxation of rules governing the use of pesticides and its failure to prevent products made with expired margarine from going on sale, KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said.
He likened Tsai administration’s attempt at pension reform to slogans created by “hipsters,” which might sound profound, but actually have very little content.
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