Politicians should serve the people, not parties: Han Kuo-yu

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan needs to reshape its political environment so that political figures serve the people and are not controlled by political factions or parties, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said on April 16 in a seminar at Stanford University.

Han, who is currently on a nine-day visit to the United States, told the closed-door seminar that Taiwan needs to reshape its political environment because partisan politics has led the country into economic decline.

“I have witnessed for myself that Taiwan’s progress has been idling for 20 years due to divisive and malfunctioning partisan politics.

“I could say the government of Taiwan is not dominated by public servants but by party servants,” Han said in his speech, which was published by Taiwan media.

He referred to the people of Taiwan as “victims of the polarizing effects of partisan politics that come with the influence of party servants.”

While politicians claim they will serve the people and country during election campaigns, most of them “only provide services for themselves, for their parties and for pork barrel projects” after getting elected, the outspoken mayor said. “They are party servants, not public servants.”

In his speech, Han also elaborated on the difficulties Taiwan currently faces, including a declining economy, standstill salary growth, investments shifting overseas, and a severe case of brain drain.

Citing Singapore, Han said Taiwan and Singapore were once neck and neck in terms of development and economy, but now the GDP per capita of Singapore is over US$60,000 while Taiwan’s is US$25,000.

“It is no exaggeration that this kind of hopeless and splitting partisan politics and government incompetence left everyone in Taiwan short of more than NT$1 million (US$32,386) per year,” Han said.

“Taiwan has wasted many years on party servants’ politics, and for the people who truly put Taiwan dearly in their hearts, like me, we can no longer stand idle and watch this party servants’ disaster go on damaging our future,” he added.

Han of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) beat Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the Kaohsiung mayoral election on Nov. 24, 2018 with 53.86 percent of the vote compared to Chen’s 44.81 percent.

Han’s victory margin of more than 149,000 votes, marked the KMT’s first mayoral win since the DPP took control of the city government in December 1998. Han’s nine-day trip to the U.S. kicked off on April 10 and is scheduled to run through April 18.

By William Yen