President Speaks at Opening Ceremony  of 2008 Taiwan International Anti-corruption Symposium
National Competitiveness through Anti-Corruption
The 2008 Taiwan International Anti-corruption Symposium opened at nine o’clock at Howard Hotel in Taipei today on August 11.
In an address, President Ma Ying-jeou said that public confidence is the greatest asset of the government and that corruption is the gravest corrosive. He called on everyone to be always on the guard against corruption because, he said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The president reiterated his administration’s policy of “Integrity, Professionalism, Sustainability, and Equitable Distribution.” The government, he said, is preparing to set up an anti-corruption agency to coordinate the anti-corruption efforts, because a nation’s competitiveness is proportional to its honesty and also because anti-corruption is the world ethos.
He announced that the government will make its employees “unwilling to be corrupted, needless to be corrupted, unable to be corrupted, and dare not be corrupted.” It will select honest persons to serve as departmental heads to enable government employees to resist the temptation of corruption. The government will pay its employees enough so that corruption is unnecessary. It will also strengthen the laws and regulations to deprive government employees the opportunity for corruption, for instance, by forbidding them to accept gifts from a person or a firm that has signed a contract, received government stipends, or been placed under government supervision. On the other hand, the government will take stringent measures to deter corruption by government employees. The presidents urged government leaders to lead by example, because, he thinks, anti-corruption can succeed only by combining political resolve with universal consensus in society.
The symposium is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice and Transparency International with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council. The budget comes from the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Executive Yuan. Among the participants are Jens Olsen, International Relations Director and Chief Legal Adviser in Danish Ombudsman Office; SNG Jin Poh, assistant director of Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; Yip Pit Wong, Senior Assistant Commissioner II, Anti-Corruption Agency, State of Penang, Malaysia; Seng Chuan Al Din Wan, senior inspector of Ant-Corruption Agency, State of Saba, Malaysia; Susan Côté-Freeman, Transparency International Programme Manager, Private Sector; Chan Ka Fai and Leong Weng Tak, Representatives of Justice and Prosecution Society of Macao; and officials the 21
Ministry of Justice, Investigation Bureau, county and city governments, Transparency Taiwan, and teachers at related departments of Taiwan’s universities, totaling about 200.
The symposium lasts one and half days and is divided into seven sessions. Two sessions are to be held this morning, starting with a presentation by Kao Yueh, director of the MOJ Department of Ethics. Director Kao’s topic is “Taiwan’s Strategy on Government Ethics.” After listening to the report, all participants highly validated Taiwan’s public servants’ asset-declaration system and hope the ethic norm will become party of public servants’ value.
The second session is a report by Transparency International’s Susan Côté-Freeman. She speaks, in the international perspective, on the changes of anti-corruption practices that affect business behavior. She says that businesses can no longer tolerate corruption. The Transparency International introduces some anti-corruption approaches for adoption by businesses and calls on businesses not to regard corruption as a common matter. They should share the responsibility for the solution, she says.