Taiwan government defends policy performance

Taiwan government is already in the process of implementing reforms called for by opposition protestors Jan. 13, according to Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi.

The people’s livelihood and national development are at the heart of President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Sean C. Chen’s policies, Fan Chiang said following a large-scale demonstration in Taipei City led by the Democratic Progressive Party.

As to the major demands made in the rally, Ma has consistently sought to protect press freedom, and the National Communications Commission will propose a bill to prevent media monopolies in March, Fan Chiang said.

With regard to pension reform, the government has held 122 forums across Taiwan, hearing the views of more than 10,000 workers, educators, public servants and soldiers, as well as experts nominated by all political parties. The depth and breadth of opinions expressed far exceeds what could be accomplished in a national conference on the issue, Fan Chiang said. “We hope the DPP will also make proposals on the overhaul of the social security system for consideration in the Legislature.”

In addition, Ma and Chen are continually monitoring the performance of Cabinet members, while striving at all times to uphold the constitutional duties of the president and Legislative Yuan, he said.

“We respect the right to public protest, and give great importance to the views and complaints of the people, which it is the government’s responsibility to listen and respond to.”

The government will continue engaging in dialogue with the opposition and public to bring all viewpoints into consideration, Fan Chiang said. “The opposition is welcome to put forth constructive proposals, to be dealt with through rational discussion, to create a more stable and prosperous society.

“Demonstrations should not just vent emotions, but need to express practical opinions for the good of the country,” he added. “Internal conflict in the face of domestic and international challenges will not contribute to improvement and should be replaced by rational dialogue.”

Separately, Cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun echoed Fan Chiang’s remarks, stressing that the government is already hard at work tackling the protestors’ demands.

All government agencies have been actively implementing the Cabinet’s economic power-up plan since it was announced in September, she said. The Council for Economic Planning and Development began studying social security issues in 2008, and in October last year Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah was put in charge of a pension reform task force, which is scheduled to put forward a restructuring plan by month-end.

It has been standing government policy, moreover, to ensure the safety of nuclear power and promote the development of renewable energy, Cheng said.

“As these very complex issues have far-reaching effects throughout society, the Cabinet insists on taking a professional, detailed and measured approach in developing policies and working for reform,” she said, in line with the premier’s principle of not creating new problems while solving existing ones.

The Cabinet also called on the opposition to work within the system for change, using legislative procedure to champion workable reforms. “Excessive emotion and simplified slogans will only exacerbate social strife and will not contribute to reform,” Cheng said.

Taiwan Today