Nobody is above the law, except of course politicians
The China Post news staffMembers and supporters of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will hold today another mass protest to denounce President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) possible connections to alleged illegal wire-tapping of legislators, while the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) will host its national congress and officially nominate Ma for another term as the party chairman. Although the two events are different in nature — protesters will gather on the Ketagalan Boulevard (凱達格蘭大道) and KMT supporters will meet at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) for the official ceremony — they both highlight the ever-growing ideological gap across Taiwan's political spectrum, as well as the public's continuous impression that nobody is above the law in Taiwan, except politicians.
September 30, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
In the name of “justice,” the pan-green supporters are taking the street to voice their dissatisfaction with the actions of the government, including the current political wrestling match between the president, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建 銘).
Earlier this month, Ma blasted the speaker for using his influence to meddle in Ker's prosecution via former Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫). According to the president, the incident has caused the “most serious infringement of Taiwan judicial independence” and the “most shameful day in the development of Taiwan's democracy.” The president warned that the island would “descend into an endless downward spiral,” if such an act was not dealt with in the most serious manner. Nevertheless, Ker and a group DPP legislators trampled on judicial dignity again on Wednesday when they publicly lambasted the head of the Special Investigation Division (SID) under the Supreme Prosecutors Office, Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming (黃世銘). The event not only demonstrated Ker's lack of remorse in the alleged influence peddling case, but also fully exposed the incivility of legislators who openly use public office for private gains.
Today, some legislators from across party lines are desperate to get rid of the SID because it has discovered possible irregularities within the Legislature, but in fact, the agency was established based on a DPP-backed amendment that cleared the Legislature in 2006. Also for the sake of “justice” and amid corruption scandals involving top officials in his government, Ma was overwhelmingly re-elected chairman of the ruling party in July.
Ma again vowed to reform the party, but in the wake of the bribery scandal that implicated top Cabinet official Lin Yi-shih (林益世), a former KMT vice chairman and one of his key confidants, and his former top aides, Lai Su-ju (賴素如), we are wondering if the president still has enough support within the ruling party to further press for his reform agenda. Earlier this week, the KMT caucus announced its plan to withdraw the referendum proposal they had initially proposed regarding the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Out of nowhere, the legislators pledged to support all budgets related to the Nuke 4 safety inspections for this year and the next, before Taipower announces the inspection results. This amounts to saying that the plant will be completed as planned and to send away the supporters of the anti-nuclear movement empty-handed.
Yet, it again gives the impression that legislators can choose to disobey the law whenever they like. It is therefore little wonder that an increasing number of people don't believe in justice any more. That is the biggest challenge politicians are facing today, and will be facing for years to come.