Saturday, November 18, 2017

KMT on Counterattack

If wishes were horses...

The KMT is in full counterattack mode. The DPP's recent moves to put the government in charge of the irrigation cooperatives as well as its roll-back of labor rights are motivating the KMT (KMT news organ) and giving it ammunition to attack the DPP:
On November 13, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) separately received four KMT legislators, i.e., Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁), Ma Wen-chun (馬文君), Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣), and Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) in order to listen to their views on bills being reviewed in the Legislative Yuan. Two of the bills, both proposed by the DPP, intended to change the irrigation associations into government agencies, headed by government appointees, and to change township mayors from elective to appointive. Wu declared his opposition to both bills.
I already discussed the import of the irrigation cooperative changes for KMT patronage networks. The change in the township mayors will also have a profound effect on the KMT's local level networks. This is because while the higher elective levels might be DPP, in many "green" areas the local elected officials are KMT. The south is not a green monolith, but a patchwork that is a different checkerboard at every level.

By making the township mayors appointed by county chiefs, the DPP is removing the ability of the KMT to elect these individuals, and again, cutting off the KMT's patronage networks at the local level. Recall that in the municipalities (Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, Taoyuan, New Taipei City, and Taipei) the mayor appoints all the city officials. Thus, in the five cities controlled by the DPP, the KMT has almost no public offices. The DPP is now replicating this for the counties, ensuring that there will be fewer sites the KMT can cultivate local politicians for higher office and reducing patronage monies to local KMT-connected businesses.

The new labor laws, which represent a vulnerability the  KMT could exploit, were it not the party of big business, were the subject of a staged brawl today in the legislature.

Another area of KMT attack is the growing Ching Fu Scandal. The latest on it has the KMT pointing out the absurdly rapid payment to the company after it requested the funds....
The funds were disbursed on Dec. 16 last year — just 10 days after Ching Fu again asked the ministry for the payment, which was quick and suggests that the office’s top management was involved in the disbursement of the funds, she said.

Considering the sheer size of the payment and that it was composed of budgets earmarked for other military services, it was unlikely that the ministry could have paid the shipbuilder without receiving instructions from upper management, Lee said.
The Ministry is allowed to re-arrange funds if it needs, within certain limits. Also this week the Ma Administration, which contracted for the ships, was also implicated:
The shipbuilder has been embroiled in a fraud scandal over a contract that it won from the Ministry of National Defense in October 2014 to build six minesweepers for the military at a cost of NT$34.9 billion (US$1.16 billion).

To finance the construction, Ching Fu obtained a syndicated loan of NT$20.5 billion from a group of nine domestic lenders led by First Commercial Bank.

However, an investigation initiated by prosecutors in August found that Ching Fu might have used bogus documents to falsify four capital increases that were required as part of the terms of the loan.

The controversy has seen DPP and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers trading barbs over who used their influence to help Ching Fu obtain the syndicated loan, of which NT$15.4 billion had already been disbursed.
Officials visiting the firm have also come under fire, though they have denied working on its behalf. The owner of the firm, Chen Ching-nan, was arrested and charged with obtaining the loans under false pretenses, which triggered the messThe case has shaken local banks, since it appears the firm is insolvent and no funds of the massive loan will ever be returned.

The Ching Fu case may appear that enough mud is spread throughout this and the previous administration, and also because it is huge and complex, and therefore the public will perceive it to be yet another in the endless business-as-usual deals that the government engages in. But such perceptions hurt the DPP more than the KMT....

Meanwhile, as many expected, longtime KMT politician in Taipei Ting Shou-chung will enter the KMT mayor primary, for the fifth time. Ting is 63 and will be nearly 7o in 2024, too old to become president if he is elected mayor and plans to use Taipei as a base for a national bid. If he wins the Taipei mayor race, that is one more datum showing that the next president is likely to come from Taoyuan or Taichung.
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B.BarNavi said...

Archaic banking laws?! Elaborate. I thought it was archaic attitudes towards labor that was holding Taiwan back.

Michael Turton said...

Can't even cash a personal check here. Or get a credit card, in many cases, as a foreigner. Or easily open a corporation. etc.