Ma Ying-jeou, the President of the Republic of China in-exile, has scored his lowest ratings in public opinion polls since taking office in 2008. Last week Ma’s approval rating was only 15% in a recent cable television poll conducted by TVBS, interviewing 1,303 persons.
Public confidence in Ma Ying-jeou’s leadership was shattered by the still-growing corruption scandal involving top Ma aide Lin Yi-shih. Lin was Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan until forced to resign after revelations of multi-million dollar bribes emerged in a magazine expose.
Ma has no one else to blame for Lin’s alleged crimes. Ma not only heads the ROC government but also controls his political party, the Kuomintang, as party chairman. Lin was appointed by Ma and now puts the taint of bribery within Ma’s inner circle.
Ma has worked overtime on an anti-corruption campaign including a marathon foot race but still lacks public confidence in his administration. Lin Yi-shih was first accused of corruption by the Chinese-language magazine Next on June 27th but Ma did not take action until the controversy boiled over to the international news media. Emerging details suggest the scope of Lin’s deceit may be larger than first realized.
A Taipei Times editorial yesterday bluntly stated: “Unless Ma can present practical strategies to combat corruption and expand his circle of trusted lieutenants, there is every chance that Lin will not be the last corrupt official to be uncovered before the end of his second term.”
Ma fancies himself to be an anti-corruption crusader because his prize bust was the jailing of his predecessor Chen Shui-bian. Chen was convicted after a controversial trial that garnered international attention for its unfairness. Chen has been held in harsh prison conditions in a tiny cell without bed, table or chair for 23 hours a day or longer.
Chen’s health has suffered in prison and he is currently being denied requested medical attention. Chen’s supporters and others have called for a medical parole, medical release, house arrest, or pardon out of concern for Chen’s well-being.
Lin Yi-shih’s close association with Ma Ying-jeou may raise renewed interest in the guilt or innocence of Chen Shui-bian. Many members of Chen’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party, stepped away from Chen following his conviction without having a good understanding of the facts surrounding Chen’s alleged crimes. However, for many other DPP members, Chen Shui-bian is a political prisoner of a corrupt KMT administration.
For more information on Chen Shui-bian