Sun, Jul 21, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ma says declining birthrate result of Tsai’s bad policies

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff reporters

Former president Ma Ying-jeou speaks at a forum on nursery care in Asia hosted by the University of Taipei’s College of Education and the WeKids Foundation in Taipei on Friday.

Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times

The nation’s birthrate has dropped over the past three years because President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) labor, economic and cross-strait policies have made people not want to give birth, former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said on Friday.

Ma made the remarks at a nursery care in Asia forum, hosted by the University of Taipei’s College of Education and the WeKids Foundation in Taipei.

The leadership of Tsai’s administration has led to a stagnant economy, Ma said, adding that its policy of “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” (一例一休) and pension reform for military personnel and civil servants also discouraged people from having children.

Frozen relations across the Taiwan Strait are also weighing on the birthrate, he added.

“People are less likely to bear children if military aircraft [from the other side of the Strait] hover over the nation every day,” Ma said, quoting an unnamed demographer.

The number of newborns in Taiwan fell by 58,000 during former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) administration, by 41,000 during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration and by 32,500 during Tsai’s administration, Ma said.

However, during his eight years as president, the number of newborns increased by 15,000, he added.

“I am very happy [that more babies were born], even though they were not mine,” Ma said.

Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said Ma’s remarks were absurd.

The government’s policy is to have a strong national defense and make people confident about their lives, Ting added later in the day.

The growth of GDP, minimum and average wage standards, performance of the stock markets and employment rates have all performed better during Tsai’s administration than under Ma’s, he said.

During the China-leaning administration of Ma, people lived under the fear of being annexed by China and were anxious about their children’s future, he added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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