Tue, Dec 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ko: Cross-party relations is ‘new political thinking’

TRANSPARENCY:The government claims the general budget was balanced, but how could that be if the hidden cost of defense is added in, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je asked

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, visits a tunnel construction site in New Taipei City yesterday morning.

Photo: Chiu Shu-yu, Taipei Times

People with different political views working together is the “new political thinking,” Taipei Mayor and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, citing how he and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) differ on many issues but can still cooperate on some.

Gou, when running as a candidate in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential primary in July, proposed that the government pay for the cost of bringing up all children from birth to six years old.

“I think the idea of ‘the state paying to raise children from birth to six years old’ is currently only a slogan,” Ko said on Saturday last week.

Gou later the same day said that the idea is “a national security issue, just like that of whether our nation needs to buy more weapons,” and that “professor Ko has a background in medicine, so he does not understand cost management.”

When visiting a tunnel construction site near New Taipei City’s Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) yesterday morning, Ko was asked to comment on Gou’s remarks.

Having the state pay the cost of raising children up to six years old is possible, but the details of the policy must be laid out, because where the money is going to come from is a big problem, as well as whether wealthy families would be excluded, Ko said.

“A big problem is that Taiwan has too many hidden debts, such as labor insurance — and, frankly speaking, honesty is not a feature of Taiwanese politics,” Ko said.

The central government claims that the general budget was balanced, but how could that be if the hidden budgets of national defense or the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program were added in? he said.

The low birthrate is one of the biggest problems to solve over the next 30 years, Ko added.

Asked if he disagreed with Gou on several issues, Ko said that two people do not have to agree on everything to cooperate.

This could be a “new way of thinking in Taiwanese politics,” he added.

While politicians of the pan-blue or the pan-green camps often have to hide fellow party members’ improper behavior and objectionable opinions from the opposing party, his deputy mayors have been from the KMT, the Democratic Progressive Party and the People First Party — and they could all work together, Ko said.

“I hope this new political thinking can lead to a more harmonious Taiwanese society over the next 30 or 40 years,” he added.

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