Clean gov’t starts with president: Ma

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The building of a clean government must start with a president who does not abuse his power, President and Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday in Taipei City at a campaign rally for KMT mayoral candidate Hau Lung-bin. Ma’s call to clean government may be viewed by some as an indirect reference to former president Chen Shui-bian, who along with wife Wu Shu-jen, was convicted on Thursday of corruption in a final verdict handed down Thursday by the Supreme Court.

Thousands of people showed up to hear the president’s speech at Hau’s rally. According to local reports, Ma said the power of his position forced him to be confronted daily with the reminder not to abuse it.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, the president appropriated, adding that there are too many historical examples of abuses of power, even in Taiwan; therefore, in order to build a clean government, the abuse of power must never start with the president. Ma described the effect some recent controversial court cases had on him, causing him to lament the current state of judicial affairs. However, the president emphasized that he has not intervened in judicial cases, either as mayor or president.

Making that comment in response to the few misguided people who accused him of condoning the light sentences given to child molester by the judicial court, Ma said he has endured the anger of many, who accuse him of forming ineffective policies. However, he pointed out that he is president and as the head of the nation’s central government, he should not intrude and intervene with judicial review. In the past, Ma had mentioned that although the judiciary should be independent, it cannot be isolated from the community and should not deviate from the expectations of the people when it comes to justice. Once the president intervenes with the judicial process, the entire institution will suffer, Ma said, adding that he hoped everyone would appreciate the fact that presidents must strictly abide by the constitution, although he did reveal that he has requested and pushed the judiciary for reform that has concrete results. The president said he has heard the voice of the people and will bear their concerns in mind. However, the judiciary must be given the space and power to preside over cases. If it is found that a judge has shown serious deficiencies, Ma said the Control Yuan can impeach the authority figure in a higher court and force a resignation.