Ma’s policies out of touch with public: DPP

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Dec 24, 2012 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said the conditional approval of a controversial resort development and the carrying out of six executions on Friday showed that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration is not communicating with the public, nor implementing well considered policy.

The construction of Miramar Resort Village at Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) gained conditional approval from a seventh Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) meeting on Saturday, despite heated debate over the legitimacy of the project and the EIA meeting.

On Friday, the Ministry of Justice executed six convicts, marking the third round of executions since the government ended a four-year moratorium on the death penalty in April 2010.

In response to media inquiries about the Miramar Resort project yesterday, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the EIA result “did not meet most people’s expectations” and that “the nation does not need another luxury resort.”

The result also showed the executive branch’s overriding of a judicial ruling because the Supreme Administrative Court had ruled the project and its previous EIAs illegal, Su said, adding that the country’s natural resources need to be cherished.

Regarding the executions and their ensuing condemnation by anti-death penalty groups, Su said that abolishing capital punishment would require a strong consensus from the public as well as the drafting of amendments and supplementary legal measures, neither of which the government has made progress on.

Su did not disclose the party’s official position on the death penalty, but said that “Taiwan has a long way to go before it is ready to abolish the use of capital punishment.”

Former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) made similar comments about the two issues yesterday.

“The Miramar Resort project has been difficult to handle because of the environmental concerns on one hand and local residents’ expectations of the project’s economic benefits on the other,” Tsai told reporters on the sidelines of a book launch.

Both the central and local governments should take responsibility for initiating a dialogue to bring the opposing sides together and avoid creating social divisions, she said.

The former DPP presidential candidate described the executions as “unexpected” and said they have caused confusion among the international community about the country’s desire to phase out the death penalty.

The president has been inconsistent in his support of abolishing capital punishment, Tsai said.

“We have yet to see Ma act with vision, determination or preparedness on the issue,” she said.