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KMT names Ma as presidential candidate

Former party chairman promises to break country's economic isolation if he wins poll

KMT names Ma as presidential candidate

The Central Standing Committee of the opposition Kuomintang yesterday named the party's former Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as its candidate for the 2008 presidential election.
After a meeting of the committee, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) announced the decision at a news conference. The decision still has to be approved by the party congress when the group convenes on June 24, although this is only regarded as a formality.
Flanked by the party's six vice chairmen, 15 city mayors and county magistrates, Ma said at the news conference that he will invite Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to be his running mate.
He also spelled out his economic vision for the country with a promise to improve the lives of all Taiwanese people.
Ma said that the average salary of NT$26,000 for people who hold bachelors' degrees last year was lower than that of 10 years ago. He also mentioned that sharply increasing suicide rates since the transfer of power in 2000 highlight the plight that many ordinary people in Taiwan have been facing.
Taiwan's stagnant economy is a result of being economically isolated by the world, which is more dreadful and harmful than being politically isolated, Ma said.
Ma vowed to break the country's economic isolation if he is elected president by signing free-trade agreements with economic powers and establishing Taiwan as a flight center in East Asia by having direct flights to China and other destinations in the region, cutting flight times for businessmen.
On cross-Strait economic policies, Ma said he would push for economic and trading normalization with China under a principle leaning towards openness with control on some exceptional interests. He would remove the 40 percent capital cap placed on Taiwan's businesses that invest in China, and put certain limits on technology and other vital interests instead, Ma said. However, he would not easily open the island to Chinese agriculture produce as a way to protect domestic agriculture, which he thought would need protection to remain viable.
Ma also said that he would lure Taiwanese businessmen back to Taiwan, encourage indigenous industries, and establish Taiwan as a global operational center for domestic businesses and Asia-Pacific operational centers for foreign businesses.
In the area of tourism, Ma proposed changing the current "unilateral tourism" with China to "bilateral tourism," saying he would open Taiwan to more Chinese people for sightseeing. He said he hoped to lure 3,000 Chinese to come to Taiwan each day, totaling about one million each year, and would like to see that number tripled within four years, which he projected would bring considerable revenue to Taiwan's economy.
On the domestic front, Ma said he would use tax surpluses to help local governments pay their debts over a period of several years.
After giving tribute to farmers in the country, Ma promised to raised the old-age farmer annuity with an increase of NT$1,000 to their monthly allowance if the national pension fails to be legislated.
Ma stressed he is running for president out of a strong sense of completing a historical mission to get Taiwan and its people out of their current plight, instead of running for his own personal privilege or power. He vowed to unite all available strength and muster all available help to win the 2008 presidential election.


Updated : 2021-04-22 23:18 GMT+08:00