Gov't rises to defend Ma over inflation remarks
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government yesterday came to the defense of President Ma, who said a day earlier that he didn't feel there has been a change in consumer prices.
February 10, 2013, 12:32 am TWN
It is customary for Ma to accompany his mother to shop at Hsinglung Market the day before Lunar New Year's Eve. Hsinglung is a traditional marketplace in the Jingmei area of Taipei City, near the president's private household.
On Friday, Ma took his mom shopping there and was asked by the media whether he felt things have become more expensive over the past year.
“Not very much,” Ma answered. “I don't feel there is a change.”
The statement immediately drew indignant remarks from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
“It has been said that Ma doesn't feel the pain of common citizens, and his remarks Friday gave proof that this is indeed the case,” said DPP lawmaker Tsai Chi-chang.
“He still doesn't know where the problem is,” said another opposition lawmaker Chiu Yi-ying. “Having a president who is numb to everything is Taiwan's biggest tragedy.”
The government, meanwhile, defended the president.
“The Mas spent NT$3,720 shopping this year. Last year they spent NT$3,540,” said Fan Chiang Tai-chi, presidential spokesperson. “There wasn't much of a difference.”
Chen Pao-chi, chairman of the Council of Agriculture (COA), echoed Fan Chiang's remarks.
“A price hike was seen for certain items and a price decline was seen for others,” Chen said. “Overall, consumer prices during this year's New Year period stayed flat compared to the same period last year.”
He cited COA data as showing that compared to the same period last year, this year prices fell 29 percent for vegetables, 6 percent for pork and 7.5 percent for seafood. Prices increased 6.9 percent for fruit, 35 percent for wild-raised chicken, and 6 percent for home-raised chicken.