Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Lin Chuan plans to retire after Cabinet shuffle

STEPPING DOWN Despite speculation that he might be named vice premier, Minister of Finance Lin Chuan said he would like to return to private life

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said yesterday that he will announce his retirement after Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) leads the Cabinet to resign en masse on Monday.

Lin said he "does not want to" retain his post even if the new premier wants him to stay.

"I need to take a rest after serving in a public post for more than five years. I think this is a good time to make this decision, allowing my successor sufficient time to accomplish the task," Lin told reporters.

Resuming his university teaching job is just one of the options he is considering, he said.

Lin, 54, became head of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics in May 2000 after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was elected. In November 2002, he was appointed finance minister by then-premier Yu Shyi-kun.

Seen as one of the core members of Chen's team, Lin was chief of the Taipei City Government's finance bureau when Chen served as Taipei mayor from 1994 to 1998.

Lin said that he has not yet reported his decision to Chen.

Asked whether he might take up the post of vice premier if such an offer is made, Lin said that if he did that, then he would be severely criticized.

Chen is scheduled to announce the appointment of former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) as the new premier today.

Having suffered from sciatica for at least a year, Lin said now he just wants to live a normal life, as serving as a government official is not normality.

His decision should take many by surprise as he has been rumored to be an ideal candidate for the post of vice premier because of his achievements in government. Lin's retirement would pose a problem for the new premier, as the Chen government is short of financial experts, especially those with a taxation background.

Over the past three years, Lin has successfully pushed forward the alternative minimum tax (AMT) scheme, the nation's first tax hike in nearly four decades. He has also helped the government carry out financial reform, halving the number of state-run banks to six last year.

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