DPP invites Ma to Citizen National Affairs Conference

The DPP plans to launch a major review of Ma's policy toward China before the event

Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen joined a prep session for Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs in Banciao yesterday. She

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen announced that her party and the Taiwan Solidarity Union would launch a major "examination" of the Kuomintang government's China policy and warned that Taiwanese society "must act now" to face the crisis of massive unemployment "for the sake of the present and the next generation."
Tsai made the statement at the end of the fourth and last preliminary forum preparing for the Taiwan Citizen Conference on National Affairs, which is to be held Feb. 21-22. The goal is to look at economic and financial problems with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and civic and social reform organizations.
Yesterday's forum at the Cheng Loong Plaza in Banciao, Taipei County was moderated by former state minister Lee Hsi-yao and attended by Tsai, Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-hui, several DPP Taipei City councilpersons and over 100 representatives of civic, small business, social movement and labor groups and private citizens.
The session began with presentations by economists, labor activists and small business representatives on Taiwan's current economic and financial problems, especially the looming crisis of unemployment and was followed by statements by over 20 citizens representing a variety of social and civic organizations.
In her closing remarks, Tsai added that the conference sponsors will invite President Ma Ying-jeou to attend the two day plenary session next Saturday and Sunday."
Tsai stated that she had invited President Ma to attend the conference in order to allow him to "listen to the criticisms and views of the people and understand how this administration has continually lagged behind and misjudged the changes in the economic situation" since the KMT government took office last May.
Tsai said that the KMT government's misjudgements in economic policy, beginning with a rash surprise hike in petroleum product prices just after taking office and launching a NT$80-plus billion debt financed consumer vouchers program to boost consumption just as a wave of structural unemployment was building.
Citing the voucher program and the new announcment of NT$160 billion in short-term public works projects for this year, Tsai commented that government decision-making was dominated by "short-term political considerations that led to ineffective policies" whose main effect was to "display that the government is doing something."
The DPP chairwoman and former vice premier warned that the KMT government's heavy reliance on debt financing for short-term stimulative programs "resulted in excessive investment of national resources in inappropriate purposes," did not address the fundamental problem of long-term unemployment and risked triggering a fiscal squeezing out of other priorities such as social welfare and national defense.
Moreover, the DPP chairwoman expressed concern over the Ma government's "rash" commented that "the Ma government four agreements, is anxious to sign a CECA and intends to negotiate a peace agreement, but have they ever explained to our people and Taiwan society the benefits and risks of these actions?"
Tsai warned that the KMT's China policy threatened to "take Taiwan a direction in which irreparable damage would be caused and from which we would never be able to recover."
Declaring that Ma has "never told Taiwan society why" such moves were necessary, Tsai stated that "we can guess their intent."
The DPP chairwoman concluded the meeting by announcing that her party and the TSU had decided to insert a "1.5" national citizens conference to "examine" the Ma government's China policy between next week's two-day council on Taiwan's unemployment crisis and other economic and financial issues and the originally scheduled second Taiwan citizens national affairs conference on political and social issues.
"If the government does not listen, we will begin action and launch a new social movement," declared the DPP chairwoman, who added that "to ensure that the next generation has room and resources for survival, we need to act now."
DPP Deputy Secretary General Chen Chi-mai visited Presidential Secretry-General Chan Chun-po Friday afternoon at the Office of the President and presented Chan with a written invitation from the DPP chairwoman for Ma to attend the event and also stated that Tsai hoped that Vice President Vincent Siew and Chan himself would attend.
After the meeting, Chen told reporters that Chan had promised to pass the invitation to Ma and "make the most appropriate arrangements."