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Su cites 2006 progress despite 'storms'

Su cites 2006 progress despite 'storms'

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told the nation yesterday that his Democratic Progressive Party administration had recorded notable achievements and economic and social progress despite a stormy political environment during the past year.
Speaking to reporters at a year-end news conference, the premier recalled that when his Cabinet took office on January 25, he had said that "the Executive Yuan should take the correct road and do concrete things." He said he would summarize the past year as "recording some achievements amidst difficulty and only through effort has there been progress" in four areas, namely climate, politics, economics and administration.
In terms of climate, Su related that despite concerns of water shortages early in the year, the passage of seven typhoons near Taiwan had replenished reservoirs, ensuring that there would be no shortage of water through the second half of next year.
Moreover, the premier observed that none of the seven typhoons actually struck Taiwan and thus government assistance payments for typhoon-related damage was held to only NT$300 million, compared with NT$5.6 billion last year.
Su also stated that although Thursday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake had regretfully caused two deaths, the damage would have been far greater if the tremblor's epicenter had been in a more heavily populated area than the southern tip of Pingtung County near Hengchun.
Getting things done
In response to numerous questions about the upcoming presidential election, Su stated that "what the people expect most of all is for the government to get things done."
Besides noting that "it is only 2006 and a bit premature to discuss 2008," Su related that "the people will feel annoyed at a lot of talk about a new election just after completing the Taipei City and Kaohsiung City mayoral polls."
In terms of politics, the premier related that "there had been storms and risks but no danger," citing cutthroat partisan struggle, political chaos, opposition denigration of Taiwan and massive street demonstrations against the DPP government.
Referring to the mayoral polls in which the opposition KMT retained its hold over the capital city and the DPP narrowly defended its administration of the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Su said "the political situation would have been different" if there had been a draw.
"Voters are more mature than politicians," commented the premier, adding that "in sum, although there were disruptions, there was no major chaos politically."
The premier stated that Taiwan's economy had moved in a positive direction during 2006 in which "all the indicators which should rise, rose and all of those which should fall, fell."
Among the positive indicators cited by Su were a rise in the Taiwan Securities Index from 6532 when he took office January 25 to 7,732 Thursday, the highest level scored by the Taiex in over six years, record levels of merchandise exports and imports and the decline of the unemployment rate to 3.86 percent in November, the lowest level in six years.
Su also stated that "although it was chaotic outside, the government did not fall into chaos."
Instead, the premier said, the DPP Cabinet had carried out its policies in a "diligent and orderly" manner, including the launching in March of a campaign to improve public order, the convention of a Conference on Taiwan's Economic Sustained Development in late July and the subsequent issuance of a development vision for 2015 along with a package of economic, financial and social development plans.
Su also related that his Cabinet had continued the work of previous DPP Cabinets, including the completion of the Hsuehshan Tunnel after 13 years and the initiation of operation of the North-South High Speed Railway after eight years of effort.
Su also said the decision to make improving public order a "comprehensive" administrative campaign instead of simply the affair of the National Police Administration had succeeded in lowering the number of violent crimes by 13.3 percent through the first 11 months of 2006 and thefts of automobiles and motorcycles by 29.8 percent and 21.1 percent respectively during the same period.
Besides successfully keeping Taiwan free of avian influenza, the administration had shown its "boldness" in social programs, the premier said. He cited as an example the controversial decision to attack the spread of AIDS through the provision of sterilized needles and methadone for drug addicts, an effort that had helped realize the first decline in 20 years in the number of new AIDS cases to 2,761 during the first 11 months of 2006 compared to 3,142 during the same period last year.
Three-year plans
In the coming year, besides five three-year plans for industry, public construction, finance, social welfare and finance for 2007-2009 previously announced, "we hope to make more efforts, be more efficient and make better achievements to requite the people," he said.
Regarding the issue of a possible merger of the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, which are now slated for December 2007 and March 2008, respectively, Su said that the DPP had long held the position that Taiwan's plethora of elections should be reduced, with central government polls and local government polls being held two years apart with four year terms.
Su said he "welcomed" the proposal by the DPP headquarters to merge the polls, but added that whether the next pair of legislative and presidential polls should be merged needs more consideration and dialogue to allow for consensus in the DPP itself and between the governing and opposition parties in the Legislative Yuan and careful planning by the Central Election Commission.
Su noted that the conference held discussions on all issues from all angles, but was devoted to considering "economic development" from the standpoint of the development of the "Taiwan" economy and therefore had to consider the need to maintain Taiwan's autonomy and national security .
Moreover, the premier noted that the as conference was concerned with Taiwan's "sustainable" development, it also considered questions of the environment and resource utilization and conservation issues.
"Finally, after intense debate, a consensus was not formed" on the 40 percent ceiling, related Su. He stated that the DPP government "would assiduously implement the consensuses" of the conference and affirmed that the formulation of policies "should be made based on consideration of Taiwan's overall interests."


Updated : 2020-12-01 10:52 GMT+08:00