Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Energy conservation and thrift are attitudes that all Taiwanese people should hold and are part of the government's policies, President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday.
"This is not about personal choices -- it's a national policy," Ma said on the issue of conserving energy and resources.
Since 99.4 percent of Taiwan's energy is imported, everyone must make sure they conserve as much as they can, said Ma, who is also chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), at the party's central standing committee meeting.
The government has made some progress since it began promoting a "four saves" campaign in 2008, which asked government agencies to conserve electricity, fuel, water and paper, Ma said.
Between 2008 and 2011, public agencies and schools reduced their use of fuel by 5.75 percent fuel, electricity by 8.32 percent and water by 8.04 percent, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung said in his report on the program.
The Presidential Office released data in April that indicated Ma was using 88.15 percent less electricity and 75.30 percent less water annually than his predecessor Chen Shui-bian.
The data was published at the request of Chao Tien-lin, lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Ma said.
However, "I was surprised to see some media criticizing this and questioning why I was encouraging other people to be thrifty," Ma said.
Another DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai also said Ma was "seeking a good reputation" by comparing himself with the former president.
"This is not about my personal ethics but rather a policy," Ma said, following an abrupt revision Tuesday of a planned electricity rate hike. The increase has been lowered and has been put off from May 15 to June 10, amid widespread public concern over rising living expenses.
Once all citizens are firm on this attitude, energy saving efforts can then move forward, Ma said.
(By Lee Shu-hua and Kendra Lin)