Saturday, June 28, 2008

With a Cold Eye: Lawmakers, Beware the People's Judgment!

With a Cold Eye: Lawmakers, Beware the People's Judgment!
United Evening News reporter Kuo-Liang-huang / Special]
June 25, 2008

Wang Chien-hsuan (right) and Shen Fu-hsiung, Nominees for President and Vice President of the Control Yuan

Ma Ying-jeou has nominated Wang Chien-hsuan President of the Control Yuan. The public is enthusiastically applauding the move. But Wang Chien-hsuan's declaration that Control Yuan nominees need not visit the Legislative Yuan to solicit their votes has angered the Legislative Yuan. Today legislators threatened to humiliate Wang Chien-hsuan by rejecting his nomination. Superficially they were confronting Wang Chien-hsuan. In reality they were confronting Ma Ying-jeou. In fact, no matter who is right, this sort of senseless confrontation has left the public thoroughly disillusioned.

The Control Yuan is a safeguard against corruption. Its purpose is to prevent graft and the abuse of power. Therefore, any debate about the nomination process should be about who is qualified for the position. The debate must not be about who must be rejected or shut out of the Control Yuan based on whether they are willing to solicit votes. If the debated degenerates into an infantile contest of wills -- if you solicit my vote I will support you, if you don't solicit my vote you will suffer the consequences -- then the public can only lower its head and sigh.

The understanding Ma Ying-jeou and Wang Chien-hsuan have is correct. Control Yuan members are nominated by the president. The legislature then exercises its right of approval. That does not not mean that nominees ought to solicit votes from legislators. Anyone who solicits votes is making an appeal based on personal relationships. If the Control Yuan kowtows to legislators, if it genuflects before them in order to be appointed, how can they possibly execute their duties in accordance with the letter of the law, by impeaching officials guilty of malfeasance?

Wang Chien-hsuan is known as "Saint Wang." He is revered by the public. If their motive is to butt heads with Ma Ying-jeou, if their motive is to declare war on Ma Ying-jeou, legislators should pick another issue. If they use Wang Chien-hsuan's refusal to solicit votes as an excuse to vent their spleen, if they attempt to turn the issue into a political football, if they turn the issue into a war between Wang Chien-hsuan and the Legislative Yuan, they may defeat Wang Chien-hsuan in the Legislative Yuan. But in terms of public image, the Legislative Yuan will only shoot itself in the foot. If they insult a former official known for his personal integrity, merely to embarrass him, the ones actually embarrassed will be themselves. They will bring shame upon the Legislative Yuan. In order to engage in political wrangling, they will sacrifice Wang Chien-hsuan.

The public has enormous respect for Wang Chien-hsuan's character. It is said that after his physical examination early this year, he made out his will. He arranged to donate all his worldy possessions to charity. He expressed gratitude for all the support his wife gave him over a lifetime. He also joked that the only thing he's not willing to donate is his wife Su Fa-chao. Today Su Fa-chao told reporters she was reluctant to see Wang undergo the nomination process for President of the Control Yuan under such circumstances. The couple's expression of feelings have touched the peoples' hearts.

Wang Chien-hsuan has confronted the Legislative Yuan in this manner. Ma Ying-jeou can not of course always approach the Legislative Yuan in a confrontational manner. As the leader of the government, Ma Ying-jeou needs to learn a little more finesse. This is something Ma Ying-jeou lacks. Otherwise, his administration will find itself hamstrung. The Legislative Yuan meanwhile must not treat everything as a bargaining chip and adopt such a haughty posture. The eyes of the public are on you as well. You too will be judged for your behavior.

2008.06.25 08:18 pm







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