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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times From Tsai Ing-wen to William Lai

From Tsai Ing-wen to William Lai

President-elect William Lai’s (賴清德) inauguration is tomorrow and his Cabinet members have largely been set in place. From their administrative arrangement, it is possible to see the pursuit of a stable national security transition, while at the same time see his administration’s resolve to proactively advance industrial and economic development.

Lai is known to be upright and plain-spoken, and he must lead Taiwan in facing several perilous trials and tribulations.

Lai was born and grew up in poverty, and has a lot of compassion and understanding for the plight of those on the bottom rungs of society. Without a family background in medicine or resources, he strove hard to become a doctor, eventually making it to the top. He later became a politician, hoping to improve Taiwan.

In pursuing his path toward success, he was not enticed by the unscrupulous winds of political factions vying for power and benefits.

He has stuck to his guns even after gaining political power, and this is what he has relied on to gain the public’s trust — this was also the main factor in his winning the presidential election by a margin of about 915,000 votes.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文)tenure in office is coming to a close. In her eight years in office, the relationship between Taiwan and the US has grown stronger and both countries possess ample trust in one another, smashing through the narrative of doubt about US commitment spun by pro-China politicians.

As a result, Taiwan’s security has its most basic guarantee. Lai’s national security and defense policies follow the Tsai administration’s trajectory through the retention of several members of her Cabinet.

With national security being the No. 1 priority, there is no need for personal showmanship — stability is being emphasized in this transition of power.

However, it must be acknowledged that during Tsai’s two-term tenure, there are some actions that have not aligned with the public’s wishes, with some issues being given priority.

There have been mistakes in the order of their adoption. Some values have been given far too much emphasis, and some desperately needed national reforms have moved at a snail’s pace.

As reflected through the ballot box, votes for Lai exceeded the party vote for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by about 604,000 votes, showing that the public trusts him, despite slight dissatisfaction with the DPP’s administrative performance.

Lai must respond to the public’s hopes and desires. He must adjust the direction of his administration, including past rectifications from the tenures of former premiers, the much broader loosening of labor laws and regulations, and the labor shortage issue.

These directions also include an area that citizens are most concerned with: energy.

Industrial development requires a stable power supply, and with the service of the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant needing to be extended, the goal of a nuclear-free homeland must be rationalized. However, the development policy pace for renewables would also need to be adjusted so that it can be implemented faster.

Lai’s premier-designate’s tapping of Topco Group chairman J.W. Kuo (郭智輝) to serve as the minister of finance conforms with the public’s ardent expectations.

Being that Taiwan was built upon a foundation of industry and commerce, industry is in the nation’s blood.

Industrial development not only increases Taiwan’s economic strength, but the nation’s enriched finances could also be invested in national defense and security. The influence of industry itself is certainly a “sacred mountain protecting the nation.”

The DPP sprouted from environmental and labor movements, and many party proponents have long been opposed to enterprise and capital markets.

With the nation being threatened by a strong neighbor, it must prosper and the military must be bolstered.

The government, industry and the public must work closely together and not bicker among themselves.

Pensions, national healthcare, and military resources, as well as education institutions, need reorganization.

The progress of the past eight years’ reforms have been less than ideal. The problems Lai will need to grapple with are all coming on in a deluge, he faces the challenge of a legislature with less than half of the seats held by the DPP.

The fortunate thing for him is that he has long faced challenges with unwavering determination.

All Taiwanese should be prepared to support him and serve as an indomitable shield protecting his back.

Tommy Lin is director of the Formosan Republican Association and the Taiwan United Nations Alliance.

Translated by Tim Smith

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2024/05/19

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