Ma fumes over planned launch of May 20 cigarettes


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s incoming President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday ordered a tobacco company to cancel plans to launch a new brand of cigarettes to celebrate his May 20 inauguration. His office issued the instruction after learning from press reports that the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp. plans to launch the Ma Ying-jeou Inauguration Commemorative Cigarette. Ma found the idea “very inappropriate” and his office would not authorize the company to use inauguration-related words and images on its cigarettes, Ma’s spokesman Luo Chih-chiang told reporters.

Ma, 56, graduated from Harvard Law School and has served as justice minister, Kuomintang chairman and Taipei mayor. His lack of scandals and crackdown on corruption has earned him the nickname ‘Mr. Clean’. He won a landslide victory in the March 22 presidential election on a pro-China and anti-corruption platform.

He will be sworn in on May 20, replacing scandal-plagued President Chen Shui-bian who will step down after having served two four-year terms, the longest tenure for a Taiwan president.