Taiwan as the World Turns: the Credibility of Ma Continues to Erode

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Tuesday April 20, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Taiwan got another taste of the duplicity of Ma-speak yesterday. The day before President Ma's Premier, Wu Den-yih, stated flatly that Ma never opposed having a referendum on ECFA. The next day, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of which Ma is the chairperson and which has the controlling majority in the Legislative Yuan flatly blocked for the sixth time the referendum bill on ECFA. Conflicting words? Not with Ma-speak.

Ma-speak depends on Ma positioning himself so he can not be blamed for taking a stance on anything and then his getting someone else to do his dirty work for him. In this case, Ma's Premier Wu became the front man and the KMT legislators did the dirty work. Ma can technically say he still does not oppose a referendum, it is only the party which he controls that blocks it.

Citizens are also aware of the challenges of any referendum. The KMT legislators that created the referendum law set the bar for qualifications so high that no referendum has passed in the history of the country. Ma knows this and he knows the opposition among the people to the non-transparent ECFA that he is trying to slip by them. (It should be noted that again in Ma-speak, Ma has stated for two years that his plan will be transparent, yet no one can say what is in it.) Ma's ECFA would not pass in a regular referendum, but in Taiwan's situation with the KMT created referendum laws, it would not have a ghost of a chance. Thus it is that Ma wants to either sneak his ECFA around the people or if worse comes to worse, jam it down their protesting throats.

To deny the people the right to a legitimate referendum goes against all the principles of democracy. But so turns the world in Taiwan, with the continued echoes of Ma-speak trying to marginalize its democracy.