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Gou pledges to help provide for young children if elected president

2019/06/29 20:28

Terry Gou (郭台銘)

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and another Kuomintang (KMT) presidential hopeful pledged Saturday to shoulder the cost of bringing up children until the age of six if elected president next year.

Gou and former Taipei County Magistrate Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) made the promise during the second televised policy presentation forum held by the KMT in Taichung, where the party's five presidential hopefuls explained their policy platforms on issues related to youth, society, culture and education.

The forum consisted of two main parts, including 12 minutes of opening remarks from each candidate and two rounds of questions, in which the hostess selected one question from four.

Citing information provided by the National Development Council, Gou said Taiwan is expected to experience negative population growth starting next year, with its population predicted to shrink from 23 million to just 16 million after 2065.

"I do not want to be a president who takes office against the backdrop of a shrinking population. Part of the responsibility of a president is to solve problems," he said in his opening remarks.

Gou, the wealthiest man in Taiwan and the 257th worldwide with a net worth of US$7.7 billion, said that a major cause of Taiwan's declining birthrate has been young people's reluctance to have children due to financial concerns.

"I hereby pledge that if I am elected president, the government will raise all your babies for you, from the day they are born until they turn six," Gou said, adding he plans to use the nation's big data resources to create the necessary funding for the policy.

Chou echoed Gou's proposal in his own remarks, but stressed the government should also shoulder the responsibility of feeding senior citizens in financial distress. Chou did not elaborate on how he plans to fund such policies.

To boost the competitiveness of young people, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said he plans to push for bilingual education and step up the crackdown on drugs if he wins next year's presidential election, while former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) said the key to improving the livelihoods of young people is a greater emphasis on vocational education.

During the forum, most candidate hopefuls also accused President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of carrying out a policy of "cultural de-sinicization."

Han called such efforts by the Tsai administration "silly," saying Taiwan is renowned for its cultural diversity having embraced Western, Chinese and Japanese cultures, as well as the cultures of Hoklo, Hakka, indigenous people, mainlanders and so-called "new immigrants."

Mainlanders refers to people who arrived in Taiwan from China in 1949 following the KMT's defeat in the Chinese civil war. As for the term "new immigrants," it generally means Chinese or foreign nationals who have obtained ROC citizenship through marriage.

Both Chu and National Taiwan University political science professor Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) said that Chinese culture is an integral part of Taiwanese society.

Gou, on the other hand, accused Tsai of cashing in on Chinese culture when it is politically expedient -- citing the president's visits to temples that worship deities from China, such as the sea goddess Matsu -- while pushing for Taiwanese independence through cultural de-sinicization.

Another focus of the forum was labor issues, an area where the Tsai administration has faced strong criticism due to two unpopular revisions of the Labor Standards Act that have impacted working hours and overtime pay.

Gou attributed the public outcry caused by the two amendments to lawmakers' "general lack of knowledge about industry." "If elected president, I will definitely revise the Act again...For the employees and bosses so everyone enjoys a win-win-win situation, believe me."

Han said an effort by bosses to establish a "heart-to-heart" relationship with employees through "policies that can touch their hearts" would be conducive to management-labor harmony.

The last of the three policy presentation forums is scheduled for July 3 in Taipei, focusing on issues including the economy, finance, environment and energy.

The KMT will determine its 2020 presidential candidate based on the results of five landline-based public opinion polls, which are to be conducted by five polling firms from July 8-14.

The polls will not only compare the popularity of the five candidates against each other, they will also put each of them in a hypothetical three-way race against Tsai, who is seeking re-election, and independent Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is believed to be likely to declare his candidacy.

The outcome of the first type of comparison will account for just 15 percent of the final results, while those from the second one will have a weighting of 85 percent. The poll results are set to be released on July 15.

(By Stacy Hsu)Enditem/AW