Ma promises more even development

ON THE DEFENSIVE::Ma Ying-jeou said the 2008 economic crisis was to blame for his inability to make good on his 12 i-Taiwan projects’ plan from that year’s campaign

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 3

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promised to seek balanced development of construction nationwide and to join the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as he unveiled more details of his “Golden 10 Year” plan, stressing the government’s capabilities to carrying them out.

Planning balanced and comprehensive development — including reinforcing infrastructure, transforming Taiwan into a regional transportation hub and reducing financial debt — will help the nation modernize and eventually qualify for the Paris-based OECD, Ma told a press conference at the Presidential Office.

“The prospect is overall planning for the nation’s future. We must aim high and turn our nation into a fully modernized country through comprehensive development,” he said.

Under the 10-year plan, the government will improve infrastructure, including sewage systems and utility facilities, promote air and shipping industries to turn Taiwan into a transportation hub in East Asia, expand the public transportation network, bridge the gap between urban and rural development and seek foreign investment.

In developing the nation into a regional transportation hub, Ma said the government would build a third terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, while increasing the competitiveness of Kaohsiung and Keelung harbors.

He also promised to complete a nationwide railway network and to expand the scope of the rapid transit system as part of the goal to increase public transportation usage from 13.9 percent of the population to 20 percent.

The president’s new goals drew criticism from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which accused him of trumpeting new proposals even though he has yet to deliver on the “12 i-Taiwan projects” platform he announced during his campaign for the presidency in 2008.

At that time Ma promised to boost Taiwan’s economy by investing NT$2.65 trillion (US$81 billion) in government money in the platform, which included building rapid transit networks, making improvements to Kaohsiung Harbor and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and improving flood-prevention infrastructure and combating water pollution.

Ma yesterday blamed his administration’s failure to carry out those promises during his term in office on the global financial crisis while defending its efforts to complete some of the projects.

“We did not make empty promises during my term. We are doing what we should do, and although the global financial crisis caused delays to some projects, we are continuing to work on our goals,” the president said.

The latest plan of balanced development would be a follow-up to the projects in the “i-Taiwan” program, Ma said.

He also said the government would seek to achieve its goals in the next four years.