President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday pledged to continue Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) reform when he registered to be a candidate in the party’s chairmanship election, and renewed his promise to get rid of the party’s last remaining ill-gotten asset — the Central Investment Holding Co.
Ma, the current KMT chairman, completed his candidacy registration at the KMT headquarters by presenting 82,786 signatures from party members. The signature threshold for candidacy is 3 percent of party members — about 11,000 signatures.
Accompanied by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and his chairman re-election campaign office director, Chan Chun-po (詹春柏), Ma called for party unity and promised to seek closer cooperation between the government and the KMT in pushing government policies.
“[In seeking re-election], there are no wealth and glory to enjoy, but heavy burdens to take on. I will continue party reform and take responsibility for the party’s development,” he said.
When asked about the party’s controversial assets, which he had promised to handle since first elected as KMT chairman in 2005, Ma said the party has placed a new bid for the corporation in March this year, but the bid failed again.
He said that every political party should have party assets to function normally and the party is handling a party-run business.
“The problem is not party assets, but party-run businesses. We are handling it with caution because we do not want the corporation to be sold at an underpriced bid,” he said.
He said the party has put the corporation into public trust and does not manage it directly.
The Central Investment Holding Co is the last KMT-owned business, after it sold the building housing the party’s Institute on Policy Research and Development for NT$4.3 billion (US$143.3 million), and the China Television Co, the Broadcasting Corp of China and the Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC) to the then-China Times Group for NT$9.3 billion in 2005. The sale of the CMPC alone was worth NT$3.1 billion.
The KMT has failed in four separate attempts to sell Central Investment Holding Co — in 2006, February 2009, June 2010 and January 2011.
“We cannot donate the cooperation or get rid of it without following a public bidding process. It is our goal [to sell the cooperation] and we will continue our efforts,” Ma said.
Ma’s only other rival for the chairmanship, KMT Central Standing Committee member Hsieh Kun-hung (謝坤宏), is to register his candidacy today.
The chairmanship election will be held during the KMT’s party congress, which opens on July 20.