DPP to launch mass protest against Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou: Reports
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2012-12-04 02:52 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The opposition Democratic Progressive Party was planning a mass protest in front of the Presidential Office Building against the inability of President Ma Ying-jeou to solve the country’s economic problems, reports said Tuesday.

Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang had instructed headquarters to file an application for a mass event on Taipei’s Ketagalan Boulevard, the site of many protests gathering tens to hundreds of thousands of people in the past, reports said.

The applications were reportedly valid for December 16, 22 and 29. The DPP would pick a definite date at Wednesday's regular weekly meeting of its Central Standing Committee, reports said.

The protest would express public anger at the government’s inability to stop the eventual bankruptcy of social insurance and pension systems, to help the economy recover and to stop the concentration of media power in the hands of a few pro-Chinese tycoons, reports said.

The DPP has supported former chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen’s proposal for a National Affairs Conference to hear the widest range possible of ideas to fix pension and insurance systems, but Ma rejected the plan because it belonged under the jurisdiction of the Executive and the Legislative Yuan.

At the same time, the ruling Kuomintang, which Ma presides, has been divided about year-end bonuses for retired government employees, military personnel and teachers. The Cabinet said it wanted to limit the bonuses to the neediest groups for this year and reconsider the payments, which have no legal basis, next year if the economy has improved. Lawmakers and supporters of the affected groups have accused the government of betraying a promise and of pushing for reforms at their expense.

On the economic front, the Ma Administration has boasted of improving trade figures, while pointing at economic indicators recovering to show a yellow-blue light for two months in a row in September and October. The DPP said the recovery was still too weak, while economic growth was hardly likely to reach much higher than 1 percent even according to government forecasts. Unemployment was also still above 4 percent and showing few signs of falling soon, the DPP said.

The opposition has also joined the wave of protests against the imminent takeover of Next Media Group’s outspoken Apple Daily, Next Magazine, Sharp Daily and Next TV by a consortium of five tycoons.

Not only did the deal threaten the range of opinions heard in the media, but at least one of the buyers, Want Want China Times Group Chairman Tsai Eng-meng, held strong pro-China views he was not afraid of pushing though in the media he owned, critics said.

The opposition has accused the government of being too slow and too timid in its reaction to the recent signing of the transaction. Ma was unlikely to oppose the deal because most of the tycoons supported the KMT and his pro-Chinese policies, the DPP said.

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