By Grace Soong
The China post–President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday apologized to voters for failing to accomplish his “6-3-3” economic goals; for his government’s incorruptness and success in improving the cross-strait relations while reviving the Taiwanese economy, however, he asked for continuous support in the upcoming campaign. It was precisely the government’s leadership that helped Taiwan’s civil servants achieve great accomplishments over the past three years, Ma said during a TV interview. Ma point to drug inspector Yang Ming-yu revealing the use of plasticizers in local food and drink products, the price of rice wine decreasing from NT$180 to NT$25, and the number of fraud cases dropping by 50 percent over the past three years as illustrations.
“We gave civil servants the right to do what they should within policy limitations,” Ma said, “and that has made all the difference.” His government is one that understands the importance of judicial independence, hence does not interfere with judicial power, he emphasized. Having served as the minister of justice in the past, Ma claimed to be very aware of the fact that the judicial system needs space to exercise its power, and pointing out that the verdicts of former president Chen Shui-bian on corruption charges were precisely the result of such judicial independence. When questioned about Taiwan’s drastic wealth gap, Ma believed that, seeing how the nation’s social security network is well established and the government has set aside a record-high social welfare budget for 2012, he trusted that so long as the government takes good care of people’s livelihood, those who turn to the streets in protest will be few. Taiwan Will Join Ranks Of Developed Nations Ma promised to have Taiwan included in the ranks of developed nations by surpassing the standards set down by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), if re-elected for the next term of presidency.
While the “6-3-3” economical goals — 6 percent annual economic growth, per capita GDP of US$30,000 and unemployment of less than 3 percent — which he had proposed during the 2008 presidential campaign have not been realized, his administration has honored most of the other campaign promises and has been making continuous progress on those it has yet to achieve, Ma pointed out.
Despite divided public opinion on certain issues, Taiwan’s governmental performance and business efficiency has risen over the past several years and has gained positive ratings in the international community, ha said. Taiwan To Build Economic Growth By Establishing TIFA’s In response to the newly established free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and South Korea, which potentially poses a radical threat to Taiwan’s international trade markets, the president indicated yesterday that the government would focus on setting up trade and investment framework agreements (TIFA) as stepping stones for future opportunities, and meanwhile is rapidly coming up with various measures to cope with the situation.
Export tax is rebated, the American market has been dispersed, and the European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations markets have been added, Ma said, adding that the government would still like to sign an FTA with the United States in the long run. Taiwan has survived an exceptionally severe economic crisis over the past three years, yet its economic growth ranked forth globally and second throughout Asia, the president said, urging the people to have confidence in the government. ‘I respect Soong’s political stands’: Ma When questioned about his relationship with People First Party Chairman James Soong, Ma expressed respect for the senior politician, saying, “I have visited Soong with former premier Liu Chao-shiuan, bringing Soong’s hometown dishes along.”
Ma commented that he would like to see the pan-blue parties cooperate, but would fully respect Soong’s political stands and decisions.