Economic Daily News: End crony capitalism
Central News Agency
2014-06-09 11:38 AM
The latest corruption scandal involving former Taoyuan Deputy Magistrate Yeh Shih-wen has again undermined President Ma Ying-jeou's push for clean governance. In the Crony Capitalism Index released by The Economist in March, Taiwan was ranked eighth among 23 economic entities, up two notches from the previous survey in 2007. This demonstrates that ethics problems have only worsened over the years. Taiwan's crony capitalism is linked to the development of money politics after democratization. It was most rampant during the administration of former President Lee Teng-hui and remained active during the time of his successor, Chen Shui-bian. Although Ma must be commended for his own impeccable cleanliness, the corrupt nature of his party, the Kuomintang, has not changed much over the years. Even Ma's promotion of a code of conduct for civil servants soon after he took office has failed to resolve the problem. Now, several factors must be addressed for the government's efforts against corruption to show fruit. Personnel choices are key. Despite Yeh's poor reputation, he was allowed to hold important positions that are among the most conducive to collusion with business interests. Second is administrative transparency. Collusion is possible because of the room left for administrative discretion, but if the system for bidding on government projects is made more transparent, irregularities such as in the Yeh case will naturally decline. Last, and most important, is the determination of government leaders. China's corruption problem is a thousand times more serious than Taiwan's, but drastic steps taken by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to crack down on corruption have led to a climate change in the Chinese officialdom in a short period of time. (Editorial abstract -- June 9, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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