Ma’s policies provoke KMT dissension

‘SILLY POLICY’::A member of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee said that thanks to Ma, Taiwan today was even more of a police state than it was under Chiang Ching-kuo

By Peng Hsien-chun  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 - Page 3

The government’s policy decisions in recent months have not only prompted criticism from the opposition over President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) leadership, but have raised doubts among some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee members.

Issues ranging from the government’s plan to relax a ban on US beef imports containing the feed additive ractopamine, increases in the prices of fuel and electricity, and fines for drivers of cars left idling for more than three minutes to the alleged investigation into director Ko I-chen (柯一正) for staging an anti-nuclear protest in front of the Presidential Office have all led to grumbles from within the KMT.

Sources said that one Central Standing Committee member recently suggested to Ma — who doubles as KMT chairman — that the decision to let electricity rates rise (with the first phase of the hike to take place today) should be halted.

However, Ma stood firm on the matter, saying the price increase was insubstantial and would not have much impact, sources said.

The committee member said that as Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) is allegedly involved in misconduct, there was no reason to raise prices until that had been satisfactorily investigated, and there was a danger price increases would cause consumer goods prices to rise.

Committee members from central and southern Taiwan said they had done their best to pause the policy, “but we can no more stop the rain from falling [than stop Ma],” said a committee member who wished to remain anonymous.

Former president Chiang -Ching-kuo (蔣經國) had many ways of -lowering prices and he most certainly did not use government power to terrorize business owners, the committee member said, complaining that Taiwan today was more like a police state and was even less liberal than in Chiang’s time.

Some committee members were also not happy with the introduction of fines for cars left idling, saying it inconvenienced people.

The elderly and the young would be unable to stand the summer heat in cars without air conditioning and the government lacked the capacity to implement the policy anyway, a committee member said, adding: “It is a very silly policy.”

The member said Cabinet and government staff should visit central and southern Taiwan more and listen to what people have to say, adding that if the situation continued, they were worried about the KMT’s chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

Some members said that at least being on the committee had some perks, as they could still make suggestions to Ma every Wednesday at the committee’s weekly meetings.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer