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Talk of the Day -- Be an angel who creates opportunities for others

2012/05/19 21:27:10

President Ma Ying-jeou should adjust his thinking and use his time and energy more wisely to become an angel who creates opportunities for others, a noted publisher suggested on the eve of Ma's inauguration for a second term in office.

Charles Kao, founder and president of CommonWealth Magazine, Global Views Monthly and Commonwealth Publishing Co., said in an interview published in a local newspaper on Saturday that Ma has been too mindful of technical details.

In his view, Kao said, Ma should drop his adherence to the conventional wisdom that the devil is in the details.

"As a national leader, Ma should instead have a great mind and broad vision and just needs to give direction or key policy guidelines,"said Kao, who serves as an adviser to the Executive Yuan andthe Control Yuan.

Kao said the performance of Ma's two predecessors -- Lee Teng-huiand Chen Shui-bian -- worsened during their second term, and Ma's main mission is to break that spell.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the advice offeredby Kao and some ruling Kuomintang lawmakers to President Ma on his May 20inauguration:

China Times:

Kao said in a special interview with this paper that Ma has worked too hard and has been too focused on "trivial things" during his first term.

"I look forward to seeing him change his leadership style in hissecond term," Kao said, adding that Ma should be self-confident enoughto ignore "small things" or technical details.

"He also does not need to try to appease everyone in his policy decisions and should courageously pursue policies or reforms that would satisfy the majorityof our people," Kao added.

In order to rid his administration of polarized confrontation betweenthe country's two major political camps, Ma should more actively reach outto the opposition camp, academia and social groups during his second term, Kao said.

He suggested that Ma recruit opposition politicians into his administrationto promote social harmony and political reform.

Touching on recent policy flip-flops on fuel and electricity price hikesand reinstatement of capital gains tax, Kao reminded Ma that reformsshould never be halted simply because of opposition by "10 percent of the population."

On relations across the Taiwan Strait, Kao said there are still too many restrictions on cross-strait engagements.

"The two sides of the strait need to integrate their resources, and time is not in Taiwan's side," said Kao, who has a Ph.D. in economics fromMichigan State University.

One of the key policy goals in Ma's second term should be vigorouspromotion of cross-strait interaction in science, education, culture, sportsand trade, Kao said.

Turning to the diplomatic front, Kao said Ma should try to visit advanced countries such as the United States, Japan and major European states tolearn from their development in various fields and to let the worldsee his charm and Taiwan's achievements over the past five decades.

As Taiwan does not maintain diplomatic ties with those countries, Kaosuggested that Ma seek to visit them in his capacity as chairman of the rulingKuomintang (KMT) or as an academic or adviser to non-governmentalfoundations. (May 19, 2012).

United Evening News:

Senior lawmakers of the ruling party urged the president on Saturday to try to discern public opinion before making major policy decisions. Their advice came amid plunging approval ratings for Ma and large street protests in Taipei against his administration's policies

Ma's approval rating was 66 percent at the time of his first inauguration four years ago, but the figure has now dropped to 23 percent.

Several influential KMT legislators, including Ting Shou-chung, Lin Yu-fang and Tsai Cheng-yuan, said the controversy surrounding beef imports, looming electricity price hikes and reintroduction of a stock capital gains tax has contributed to the sharp decline in Ma'sapproval rating in recent weeks.

They said Ma should have learned a lesson from this experience and hopefully will be more cautious and prudent in implementing policy in the future.

"Austerity measures and tax increases should be implemented in a gradual rather than radical manner," said Tsai. (May 19, 2012).

(By Sofia Wu)
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