Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Rumors of Lien-Ma ticket leave KMT chair unfazed

Rumors of Lien-Ma ticket leave KMT chair unfazed

The best way to deal with businesses is to maintain "normal ties" with them, opposition Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.During an interview with the media, Ma declined to comment on media reports that several business tycoons, including Wang You-tseng and Jeffrey Koo - both of whom are also KMT Central Standing Committee members - have been promoting a ticket of KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連?) and Ma for the 2008 presidential election.
The reports said they are promoting Ma as vice president because Ma has been trying to distance himself from the business sector to avoid any impression of businesses trying to interfere in policy making - a problem for President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who is suspected of getting too close to the business sector in his "second-phase" financial reform program.
Ma said he attaches importance to keeping "normal relations" with businesses, as he has thought neither of cutting off ties nor "combining with" or getting too close to them.
He noted that over the past several years, he has held 18 business seminars, and the city government has helped the business sector to boost its domestic and international cooperation.
"Because it is 'normal' business promotion work, Taiwan's media does not tend to report on it," said Ma, who has been Taipei mayor since 1998.
As to why Tseng and Koo are not seeking re-election as the KMT's top decision-making body members, Ma said they quit the election simply because they thought they were too old and wanted to have young blood replace them.
"It's a praiseworthy decision" on the part of the two tycoons, whose close ties with politicians have long been known, according to Ma.
He denied rumors that some business leaders want Lien to vie for the presidency again because Ma has denied access to them.
He cited as an example the meetings he had with Lin Ming-cheng, chairman of Hua Nan Financial Holding, and Lin Po-shih, executive board member of Taiwan Glass Industry Group, to prove his point that he maintains "normal" ties with businesses without getting too close or too far from them.
While Ma was clarifying his policy toward local businesses, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) urged the media not to paint a bad picture of the nation's business conglomerates yesterday, saying he has no personal grudges against big businesses.
Su denied newspaper reports that he has purposely kept his distance from business tycoons to show that he is different from President Chen Shui-bian. He said a key principle of his leadership is that no individual or business interest should prevail over the public interest, and said, like Ma, that he expects to have "normal relations" with the business sector.
He noted, however, that his Cabinet attaches importance to the views of such business groups as the Chinese National Federation of Industries.
On reports that the federation might not attend a Cabinet-sponsored Economic Sustainable Development Conference, Su said he "respects very much" the views of the federation and that the Cabinet will increase contact with it.