Economy is public's major concern: ex-VP Siew
CNATAIPEI--Former Vice President Vincent Siew said yesterday that the economy is what the general public really cares about, amid the current political upheaval over a case of influence peddling involving Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.
September 13, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Disputes are inevitable in a democracy, but the economy is the most important issue in Taiwan at the moment, Siew told reporters when asked about his views on the incident.
“Of course, I feel very sympathetic” toward Wang, who has contributed significantly to the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), Siew said on the sidelines of a ceremony to donate a Taiwan studies research platform to the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
Wang was very helpful to him during when Siew served as premier from 1997 to 2000, said Siew.
Politic tensions have been high since Sept. 6, when a special investigation unit released evidence apparently showing Wang used his influence in June to prevent the prosecutor in charge of a breach of trust case from appealing a High Court verdict.
The case involved opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chief whip Ker Chien-ming, who was found not guilty by the High Court after two previous guilty verdicts.
After Wang's telephone calls to Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu and a senior prosecutor in the High Court, no appeal was filed against the verdict.
Tseng resigned just hours after the revelation was made and the KMT revoked Wang's party membership Wednesday, rendering him ineligible to hold his current post.
Politicians and officials have weighed in on the case, with Wang receiving several sympathy votes, including one from former Vice President Lien Chan who disagreed with Ma's handling of the case.
Meanwhile, Siew, who was appointed by Ma to head the Taiwanese delegation to the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in October, said he had sought Lien's advice earlier in the day, as Lien has five years of experience representing the president at the summit.
The summit will be held on the Indonesian island of Bali in early October. Siew will attend the 2013 leaders' meeting of the APEC forum on Ma's behalf.
It is the first time since Ma became president in May 2008 that someone other than Lien will be representing him at the meeting.
Meanwhile, a Taiwan-U.S. policy forum was also launched at the ceremony Thursday by the Brookings Institution and the local think tank Taipei Forum Foundation to foster closer academic exchanges between their two countries.
Speaking at the forum, Siew said that despite the current challenges in Taiwan's politics and governance, he is optimistic about the country's prospects.
The interaction between the KMT and DPP should be more rational and cooperative, Siew said, adding that he believes the two parties agree on many universal values and on issues regarding public governance and the development of democracy.