Taking lessons from U.S. President Barack Obama's setback in mid-term elections, President Ma Ying-jeou pledged today to do more to improve the economy and take care of the underprivileged.
"The government will take effective measures to boost economic growth, increase jobs and take better care of the poor, as the economy has rapidly regained momentum after the financial crisis, " Ma said during a meeting with a group of presidential advisors.
Citing a forecast by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in August, he said Taiwan's economy will expand by 8.24 percent this year -- a new high in 21 years -- and that the jobless rate will fall below 5 percent by the end of this year. Unemployment had fallen to 5.05 percent as of the end of September, he noted.
In the field of social welfare, Ma said, a legislative committee recently adjusted upward the officially defined poverty line in order to make more impoverished people eligible for government subsidies.
"More than 850,000 people will benefit from the measure should the Legislative Yuan approve it," he added.
Earlier that same day, Presidential Office spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said the government remains firm on continuing with its policies designed to lead Taiwan into a new era.
"The Ma administration will not feel complacent with what it has achieved and will definitely do its utmost to improve Taiwan's economy and help the people surmount the many challenges that lie ahead," Lo said.
"Some people are unhappy with the government's performance in some areas, and this means there is room for improvement in terms of efficiency and execution," Lo added.
Citing the results of a recent survey conducted by Global Views Monthly, he said the public approval rate for Ma improved in October compared to September, while his disapproval rate dropped in the same period.
"Taiwan's fully fledged democracy and strategic position, along with its diligent people, are the advantages that can help the country to stand out globally," he said. "The government does not fear being smeared and is poised to go ahead with its policies to break the isolation imposed by the previous Democratic Progressive Party government during its eight-year rule," he added.
Prominent international rating agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the International Institute for Management Development gave Taiwan's economy higher rankings in recent surveys, which Lo described as evidence of strong faith in Ma's economic policies.