President Ma Ying-jeou's already low popularity dropped further to 15 percent in the wake of the corruption scandal involving former Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lin Yi-shih.
Ma has drawn ridicule for his gullibility and poor judgment due to the arrogant and bossy former legislator rising quickly through the ranks to senior positions. There is definitely a need for the president to take some real action to rebuild his credibility in order to turn the tide in his favor.
When the scandal was first exposed by a tabloid magazine last week, Ma appeared credulous and passive, merely asking Lin to hold a news conference to give a public explanation.
Although Ma later apologized over the case on several public occasions, the move appeared insincere. He seemed as if he was a bystander when he said his administration team should "learn a lesson" from the scandal.
Furthermore, by repeating his slogan for a "clean government," Ma only exposed his inability to fulfill his commitment.
There is no doubt about Ma being a man of integrity. However, in order to become a good national leader, he needs to be more ready for action, develop the ability to make timely urgent responses and look beyond his inner circle.
It is not enough of a response to public anger and disappointment for Ma to merely reiterate his pledge to fight corruption or wait passively for an investigation by prosecutors. (Editorial abstract -- July 6, 2012)
(By Y.F. Low)