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Ma outlines list of priority jobs

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou outlined yesterday several major priority tasks for the first 100 days of his administration, including setting up a government ethics committee, starting to revamp the nation's tax system, launching regular weekend direct charter flights across the Taiwan Strait, and widening the doors to more tourists from China.

Ma made the statement at an international news conference, one of the major events on the first full day as the top national leader after being inaugurated as president.

Dubbed as "Mr. Clean," the Harvard-educated former Taipei mayor declared war on corruption in his inaugural speech, reminding all public servants that absolute power can cause absolute corruption.

An ethics panel governing the performance and evaluation of all government employees will set clear-cut rules.

At Ma's instruction, Vice President Vincent Siew already convened meetings to select members of the Control Yuan that had been rendered idle by his predecessor Chen Shui-bian.

The Control Yuan is the nation's highest watchdog branch in the government to prevent any deviations by government agencies or employees when handling affairs affecting the people's interests.

Tax reforms

A separate committee will be established to study and revamp the tax systems, including inheritance and other taxes as well as better and more efficient appropriations of revenues collected from taxpayers.

Direct flights, tourists

To quickly revive Taiwan's economy, Ma said he will strive to wrap up talks with Beijing to activate regular weekend charter flights to facilitate more effective business operations for companies based in Taiwan and China.

Ma and his deputy Siew believe that more foreign enterprises and capital will come to Taiwan if the island better utilize its geographic proximity to China, now the world's third largest economy.

The direct flights will also allegedly pave the way for the anticipated sharp rise in the arrival of mainland Chinese tourists.

Ma aims to correct the current lopsided cross-strait tourism development which sees around four million Taiwan people travel to the mainland each year while only a small portion of China's huge number of outbound tourists are allowed to come to Taiwan.

In addition to promoting mutual understanding, more tourists to Taiwan will help create job opportunities and reinvigorate the economy.

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 Ma outlines list of priority jobs 
President Ma Ying-jeou responds to questions raised by foreign correspondents at an international news conference on his first full day in office. Ma unveiled the highlights of his priority tasks yesterday, including presenting a clean and efficient government to serve the people as well as taking concrete steps to improve ties with China and promote regional stability. (CNA)

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