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Gov't willing to expose underbelly in efforts to fight graft: president

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the government is not afraid to expose its underbelly in its efforts to fight corruption.

The president likened anti-corruption efforts to cleaning up a room, explaining that when a room is swept, dust tends to fly in the air, but once the room is cleaned, there are noticeable improvements.

The fact that law enforcers have recently been able to uncover food scandals and industrial scandals is reassuring, the president said, adding that he learned from yesterday's newspapers that a corrupt judge had been exposed and indicted by the Special Investigation Division.

This is the way that civil servants should go about fighting corruption, the president said, adding that it is by exposing these scandalous affairs that the government can gain the trust of the people.

Since the establishment of the Agency Against Corruption, the R.O.C.'s ranking according to Transparency International has improved by one place, Ma said.

Some people may ask how the nation's ranking could climb higher given all the negative publicity over graft scandals, the president posited.

The fact of the matter is that when these organizations give their scores, they take anti-corruption efforts into account, the president said. “When you're sweeping a room, dust tends to fly in the air, but once the room is cleaned ... there will be improvements.”

The president urged the administration not to fear bad publicity when fighting corruption.

It is only by continuing this fight that the public will understand that the government is not afraid to expose its underbelly, Ma said.

Taiwan Competitiveness

Speaking about national competitiveness, the president said that the R.O.C. has performed relatively well according to international standards; for example, according to the World Economic Forum's rating on global competitiveness, the R.O.C. ranked 12th in 2013, one place higher than the previous year, while according to U.S.-based Business Environment Risk Intelligence, the R.O.C. ranked third, only behind Singapore and Switzerland, in terms of its investment environment.

Political and economic competition around the world is very fierce, Ma said, adding that Taiwan needs to a blaze a new trail.

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