EDITORIAL: KMT a mess
with no help in sight
Lately, the government has been operating like an old, rusty machine in
disrepair. It does not fulfill its fundamental functions and repeatedly fails
and spins out of control.
The recent food safety scares have highlighted the problems. Top Pot Bakery
misrepresented its products by saying they contained only natural ingredients
when they used artificial flavoring. Local rice was mixed with inferior,
imported rice, mislabeled and sold at high prices. Cottonseed oil was added to
edible oils with flavoring agents, creating olive oil without olives, chili oil
without chili and some products containing the potentially harmful additive
Chang Chi Foodstuff Factory Co, Flavor Full Food Inc, Formosa Oilseed Processing
Co, Ting Hsin International Group and Wei Chuan Food Corp have all profited from
adulterated oils, which has harmed consumer confidence.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare should have gotten its act together, raised
the alert and prepared a comprehensive set of response measures when the issues
surfaced. However, the ministry has learned nothing from the scandals and has
failed to establish standard operating procedures for food safety, labeling
inspections and food safety crisis management. As a result, it has been unable
to handle the ensuing chaos, prompting Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) to lose his
temper, call the mess “unforgivable” and promise heavy punishments for those
Prosecutors act on the government’s behalf and the Special Investigation
Division (SID) is the watchdog over top officials. The SID’s prosecutors —
carefully selected from district prosecutors’ offices — are often regarded as
the elite, but that bubble was burst by the SID’s haphazard handling of the
improper lobbying case, the abuse of wiretapping and the wiretapping of the
Ironically, Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘) is being prosecuted by the
Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office. One wonders how that could promote trust
and respect for prosecutors and how they handle cases.
The government is always upbeat about economic forecasts and claims to be
working to improve the economy, but the optimistic forecast of 4 percent GDP
growth it issued earlier this year no longer stands up to scrutiny. The
second-quarter forecast was more subdued and adjusted downward from 3 percent in
the third quarter to 2 percent this quarter. Now, many research institutions
think not even 2 percent is achievable.
Despite this, the Council for Economic Planning and Development has not proposed
any plans to boost the economy. Economic improvement is currently impossible
given the passive attitude officials are taking toward economic forecasts.
The nation’s leaders control national policy direction and advancement, but
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) behavior is absurd. He calls for reform, but does
not persevere to see it achieved. He does not understand the need to assess
situations and he is incapable of supervising reform implementation. His slogans
are hot air and have a negative impact on national development.
For example, when he made a big issue of what is right and what is wrong in his
attempt to eliminate Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), he created an
economic and political stalemate for several months. It is little wonder that
his approval rating dropped to 9.2 percent.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) must fulfill the responsibilities of a
ruling party. The current chaos shows that the KMT national congress refuses to
review the responsibilities of its chairman. It also wants to pass a resolution
making any national president from the KMT automatically double as chairman of
the party. This is a dead-end road.