With a year remaining, Ma vows to move forward

With a year remaining, Ma vows to move forward
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Addressing an audience of over a hundred supporters at the Presidential Office, President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday used the seven-year anniversary of his inauguration day on May 20, 2008 to showcase the achievements of his administration, adding he would move forward on reforms in his last year.

To illustrate his achievements with a more personal touch, the president singled out several members of the audience in policy areas including the creation of a professional national defence force of volunteers, increasing youth employment opportunities, assistance and subsidies for young families and agricultural revitalisation, among others.

He indicated that the government had assisted 260,000 households to lighten the burden of housing costs, while increasing the standard national wage five times. In the area of agricultural revitalisation, Ma touted new land rental schemes that facilitated the increase of agricultural land utilization and the attraction of younger farmers to the land.

Ma also devoted ample time in his half-hour speech toward his signature policy on cross-strait relations, in which he highlighted large increases of people-to-people contact through tourism, academic exchanges as well as the signing of 21 cross-strait agreements.

He also emphasised the large role played by small- and medium-sized enterprises in the increased exports to mainland China.

With one year left in office, Ma stated that his efforts to bring needed reforms would not slacken and he would leave the next administration with results that will continue to bring the country forward. He also underscored recent statements made about improved relations with mainland China, being based on the recognition of the "1992 Consensus." Ma previously warned his eventual successor not to deviate from his cross-strait policy.

In responding to his critics as well as disappointed supporters, the president said that he would take responsibility for the changes brought forth through reform efforts. He vowed also to continue current efforts to join regional economic agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

"These decisions have been exceedingly difficult, but I have no regrets," Ma said.

Alienated Government as Root of Taiwan's Problems: Tsai

In response to President Ma's inauguration speech yesterday, Tsai said that Taiwan's biggest threat is how the president and government lack understanding of its citizens, and has also isolated itself from the public for the past seven years.

Tsai explained that many of the policies proposed by the government also do not reflect the public will, due to an "isolated policy-making team," and even putting the government at odds with its people.

The chairwoman believed the seven years of the Ma-led government is a reminder for the DPP, should they take the reins in next year's elections.

"All politicians should learn from this lesson to always breathe at the same pace with its people, to kneel down at the same height as them, and to look at issues and solve those issues from the people's perspective." Tsai said.

Tsai also encouraged fellow politicians to reflect upon how the government system is not well-established, explaining that when the nation's leader has lost their way, the government cannot function at all as well, which results in a stagnant government.

"To break free of Taiwan's current problems, party alternation is a must to ensure a better future. To ensure the people become the country's 'owners,' the DPP also strives to create a transparent government. " Tsai said, further calling this era the "people's era"; an era in which the people are encouraged to participate more in politics.

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