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KMT will sort out assets principles by year's end

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The newly appointed secretary-general of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) , King Pu-tsung, said Sunday that the direction and principles the party will follow in handling its assets will be determined by the end of this year.

King made the pledge during a visit to the eastern city of Taitung, where a grassroots KMT worker urged him to boldly and resolutely deal with the controversial party asset issue.

The opposition contends that the KMT's assets were illegally obtained during its decades of authoritarian rule in the second half of the 20th century when the lines between state and party were blurred.

King was also told that the KMT has suffered from a shortage of workers in the Taitung area and that the roles of those working for the party were ill-defined.

He replied that the roles of grassroots party workers have changed with the political environment.

“In the past, their jobs focused on providing services and seeking help for constituents, but now they should help reflect the people's plight and search for problems,” he said.

Fielding complaints about President Ma Ying-jeou, who doubles as KMT chairman, King said that nobody is perfect and that if Ma has some shortcomings, the people around him, including King himself, will fill in the gaps.

“Chairman Ma is a man who is willing to reflect on his behavior,” King told his audience.

King had been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, since September before being tapped to take over the party's day-to-day affairs.

While King is expected to dedicate much of his time to legislative by-elections scheduled for Jan. 9 and Feb. 27 and mayoral elections in five special municipalities in December, the party asset issue, which is often used by the opposition to attack the KMT, will also be a priority, according to King's predecessor, Chan Chuen-po.

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