President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should focus on what he can do to better serve the country instead of worrying about his presidential legacy all the time, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in an interview released yesterday.
The former DPP presidential candidate made the comments in an interview with EraTV’s Face News, which was recorded last week and aired last night.
On the topic of the legacy of former presidents, Tsai said that former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) is known for his anti-communism; his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), for laying down the foundation for Taiwan’s economic development; former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for democratizing the nation and former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for promoting Taiwanese identity.
“Ma wants to leave his mark on history, but he should not be taking action as the nation’s leader for the sake of his presidential legacy,” Tsai said, adding that she urged Ma to be the president who carried out the reforms necessary to lead Taiwan out of its economic quagmire.
“It’s the mentality you have and the approach you take that make a difference. That is why Taiwanese were not receptive to the policies that Ma regarded as groundbreaking reforms,” Tsai said.
Tsai repeated her call for Ma to hold a national affairs conference to seek consensus on and find solutions for the worsening fiscal situation, in particular focusing on the financial difficulties of the government’s various pension programs.
Ma was being insincere when he said a meeting between political party leaders would be enough to deal with the issue, she said.
Such a meeting would not be enough to forge a social consensus and shows that Ma keeps missing the point: that society does not trust the government, Tsai said.
She added that the political maneuver “has reflected Ma’s lack of self-confidence.”
Regarding the public’s widespread disapproval of the preferential treatment given to active and retired civil servants, Tsai said that implementing a gradual reform of the system would likely be a better option as it would cause less social instability.
Important topics such as the pensions system, fiscal policy and planning an industrial upgrade of the economy could all be discussed in the national affairs conference, she added.