Nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese support the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office’s decision to reopen a case and indict former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on allegations of financial irregularities arising from the sale of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-owned media outlets, a poll by the Taiwan NextGen Foundation showed yesterday.
The survey found that 67.7 percent of respondents supported the probe, while 23.4 percent opposed it, foundation director Wang Chih-sheng (王智盛) said.
According to the poll, 49.3 percent of respondents think Ma is guilty, while 39.3 percent believe in his innocence, Wang said. “However, the result is heavily influenced by people’s political affiliations, as a majority of those who think that Ma is guilty said they identify with the pan-green camp, and most of those who believe in his innocence are pan-blue camp supporters.”
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
During Ma’s first term as KMT chairman from 2005 to 2007, the party sold three media outlets — Central Motion Picture Corp, China Television Co and Broadcasting Corp of China.
The sales followed amendments to the Radio and Television Act (廣播電視法) in 2005 that barred political parties, the military and politicians from owning media outlets.
However, party insiders have said that financial irregularities and illicit transactions took place during the sales to benefit certain individuals.
The now-defunct Special Investigation Division of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in 2014 probed the allegations and closed the case, citing an inconclusive result, but Taipei prosecutors last year reopened the probe, saying there were “unanswered questions.”
Regarding the division’s decision to drop the case, 47.1 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “the decision was made due to behind-the-scenes political interference,” while 32.6 percent disagreed with it, Wang said.
When asked if they would support Ma if he ran for president in 2020 on a KMT ticket, 63.8 percent said they would not support him, while 26.8 percent said they would.
The survey showed that a high percentage of people believe that Ma politically pressured the division into dropping the case, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wang Wei-chung (王威中) said, adding that the percentage is especially high among people aged 20 to 29.
The survey collected 1,074 valid samples and has a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.
The foundation was established by DPP Legislator and Electoral Strategy Committee co-convener Chen Ming-Wen (陳明文) in June 2016.
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