President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated his administration's intolerance of corruption at a Kuomintang Central Standing Committee conference held yesterday afternoon.
Both the president's administration and his political party have been dealt a severe blow with the exposure of former Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lin Yi-Shih's involvement in a multimillion New Taiwan dollar bribery scandal.
In response to the scandal, Ma said yesterday that "no matter how many people are involved and no matter how high up these people are" the case must be thoroughly investigated. He added that those involved "must be brought to justice ... corruption will not be tolerated."
Political commentators have noted that Lin was previously a favorite of the president.
After the committee conference, Ma was quoted by a Kuomintang (KMT) member as saying that he and Premier Sean Chen had selected Lin for the post of secretary-general; therefore, as president and KMT chairman, he will take the responsibility to remove "the poisonous tumor of corruption" from the government.
Ma emphasized that he will not tolerate graft, and that his administration will spare no effort to uphold the integrity of the government.
The KMT Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee resolved on July 3 to expel Lin from the party.
Several Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers have said that Ma should resign from the KMT chairmanship.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei also suggested that Ma ought to step down as chairman, adding that he was already overburdened as president.
Chuang Po-chun, head of the KMT Culture and Communications Committee, responded to reporters by saying "the party is grateful for Legislator Lo's concern. However, the party's policy is to assist and to keep close ties with the government. It is necessary for Ma to be both president and chairman."
Under the president's request, the Executive Yuan will be holding a forum to discuss anti-corruption efforts on Saturday. Ma was quoted as saying that officials should take the opportunity to reflect on the issue in depth and come up with an effective solution.
The KMT Central Standing Committee conference held yesterday began with a presentation by Economic Minister Shih Yen-shiang.
Shih gave a preliminary report on the current statuses of state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) and CPC Corp., Taiwan.
The minister also spoke about the effects of the gloomy global market sentiment on Taiwan, as well as strategies to improve the nation's exportation performance.
In addition to reiterating the administration's policy to eradicate corruption, a KMT member said that Ma also commented on the issue of privatization with regard to the state-owned enterprises.
The KMT chairman was quoted as saying that the matter must be carefully evaluated; if the companies were to be privatized, previous government subsidies, such as those designed for the disabled, would no longer exist.
Whether or not privatization is absolutely necessary must be carefully thought out.