Sunday, September 27, 2009

Penghu Says No To Gambling- KMT

In a surprise (for most people), Penghu votes down the referendum to decide whether to allow casinos/gambling on their islands. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Arguments for the casinos were that it would boost the economy on the islands. A look at the casino and gambling paradise in the U.S., Las Vegas, would say otherwise to that argument. Las Vegas' economy is currently one of the worst in the states, with "official" unemployment rates upwards of 13%, with an actual rate of something likely north of 15%.

People just don't have money to throw away in gambling during bad economies. Furthermore, encouraging citizens to gamble isn't exactly the right way to set the economy on the right path to recovery. A better "gamble" would be to just throw your money into some company stock on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, at least the chances of your money going to $0 is much smaller than doing so at the Blackjack table. Add to that, if you're a fan of Ma Ying-jeou, you still have a 20,000 TAIEX to look forward to, sometime... sometime.

The second thing to mention about this Penghu referendum was that the KMT fidgeted with the normal referendum rule that normally applies to all referendums held in Taiwan, stating that there must be a 50% or greater turnout of registered voters in order to even consider whether it passes or not. Failure to reach 50% turnout results in an automatic rejection of the referendum. Considering that all (correct me if I'm wrong) referendums held in the past were rejected due to the 50% threshold not being met, it's rather ridiculous for the KMT to try and cheat its way to a victory in this one. Take a look at the 2008 referendums on joining the U.N. under the name, "Taiwan." Both referendums had overwhelming wins for the "Yes" column, but due to low turnout, both failed. The KMT and their campaign to discourage voters to vote on the referendums also contributed to the low turnout. Quite sleazy, the KMT encourages a boycott when they don't like the referendum, but then attempts to cheat the system by getting rid of the 50% turnout when they want it to pass. This nonsense needs to stop. How can you have a fair referendum system when the controlling party can basically reject or pass (in a sense) the referendum at will? In this Penghu-Casino referendum, it would have failed again due to not reaching a 50% turnout.

Lastly, the interesting thing is that most polls and analysts predicted the referendum to pass. As this article states:

In a public survey conducted by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission on Oct. 12, 2000, 44.9 percent of those polled favored the development of the gambling industry while 38.5 percent were opposed to it.

An overwhelming 80 percent of voters in a poll conducted by the "United Penghu Alliance" on June 8, 2003, said "yes" to casinos while the remaining 20 percent said "no".

In another "consultative referendum" held by the Penghu County Government on Dec. 27, 2003, 57 percent of the voters said they approved the establishment of casinos while 43 percent expressed their disapproval.

All polling results done before were pro-casino. So we can surmise a few things:
  1. The polls were awfully conducted, with a strong "TVBS" slant.
  2. Ma Ying-jeou's "無能" is actually taking a toll on the party.
  3. Penghu residents are much more resilient and not as pro-KMT as we all thought. Although I still believe they are largely pan-blue, they may have actually pressed on the issue instead of voting by party-line, which I always support, regardless if it's the stance of the KMT or DPP. It just so happens, the stance of the DPP is usually the one that falls in line with what I believe.
Reason #2 and #3 are the most likely candidates. In any case, I will touch on #2 in another post where I will discuss why Ma Ying-jeou's supposed "無能" isn't actually so. He's actually much more clever than we think.

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