Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan faces a difficult and very challenging local election in 2018. While it could be a self doing, over confidence and most importantly, underestimating current change or demand for change in Taiwan.
In 2016, when DPP won the Presidency, she had over promised voters and not only that they implement big reforms and policy mistakes in economics, labor, energy, legislations, and environment protection.
There is a price to pay for underestimating change, under expecting change. Voters are not happy, despite maintaining positive economic growth. Big businesses can get contracts from government, however, small and medium enterprises, self-employ, and farmers are suffering due to labor and mismanagement of economy.
Old ginger has its value. When Mahathir formed the new Malaysian government, he declared he could not meet all the election promises. He wants to lower voters’ expectation. The first thing he did was to form The Council of Eminent Persons to advise the new Malaysian government on economic and financial matters.
Economics is the most important factor and any policy changes affecting economy will affect voters and supporters. DPP has opened too many fronts but Mahathir concentrates on economy and finance. Malaysian government removes Good and Services Tax but re-introduces Sales and Services Tax.
Look at what DPP is doing. They introduce labor reform#1, new look south policy, restricting mainland visitors resulting to cut in tourism income, antinuclear policy and using coal to generate power making environment a key issue in this election, laws to make Nationalist KMT’s assets illegal, trying to right the wrong doings in the past; etc.
DPP seems to engage in self-destruction when we compare what Pakatan Harapan and DPP are doing.
DPP fails to see the results of policy changes. They believe voters will give them chance by repeating claims of political victims and against unification with mainland, forgetting they are in full control of presidency and parliament. And as KMT is badly damaged, they think they can win the local election easily, especially in the central and south Taiwan.
DPP, however, is focusing their attention in the north, never expecting voters are demanding change in the whole Taiwan. There is a saying in Taiwan now: “hate DPP” is the biggest political party in Taiwan.
Despite policy mistakes, DPP also shows weak administration and lack of competency. DPP is also as corrupted as the KMT. They even perform poorly in social media. Many of the political appointments and positions are held by alliances or frictions of DPP. And their performance is far below average, below expectation. The issue of appointment of the President of National Taiwan University is a clear political intervention and is now in suspension.
From 2016 to 2018, there is huge change in the fortune of DPP. President Tsai Ing-wen’s approval rating is very low and some DPP candidates try to avoid her due to her low popularity.
Lessons for Singapore. Any?
Certainly, there are many lessons we can learn from 2018 Taiwan election. Despite poor in resources, one can be very creative in social media, language used as shown in Han Kuo-yu team. Traditional way of rally and interviews have to give way to new, fun, relax presentation. And young assistants are recruited to add new values and inputs.
Most importantly, both DPP and KMT have to rethink their strategies and election planning after this election. How do they assess CHANGE and voters’ demand?