President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has recently made some major adjustments to his government’s national security, diplomacy and cross-strait affairs teams.
At a time when society as a whole is dissatisfied with Taiwan’s economy, and coming soon after a Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposal to dissolve the Cabinet, many people expected that Ma would replace at least some of the financial officials on his team.
However, Ma has shown once again that he has no regard for public opinion, and has instead left his senior finance officials in sinecure jobs, while putting his right-hand men in charge of the government’s national security and diplomatic departments.
It is therefore little wonder that these personnel changes have been criticized so severely by various sectors of our society.
Why is it that, while the majority of Taiwanese believe we cannot save the economy without dissolving the Cabinet, our leader still insists on not making any adjustments to his financial team?
Even Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien, himself a Ma appointee, says that the idea of dissolving the Cabinet is “totally in line with popular opinion.”
In essence, this highlights Ma’s way of doing things, which is characterized by a total lack of regard for public opinion.
Opposition parties have criticized this latest wave of personnel adjustments as being totally irrelevant to what really needs to be done.
What Taiwanese in general are more concerned about is the way in which the Ma administration keeps allowing senior finance officials to go on messing things up.
Top government officials seem to think that saving the economy is nothing more than a matter of holding meetings, shouting slogans and coming up with proposals.
In 2009, the economy hit rock bottom, and then the next year, it bounced back by more than 10 percent because the starting point was so low.
Government officials considered this an achievement worth boasting about, and maybe now they are trying to do the same thing again.
If our leaders have this kind of attitude, it is likely that the tough times Taiwanese have been enduring will go on being just as hard.
This is because the nation’s current economic woes are caused not just by short-term problems with the economic climate, but rather defects in the overall structure of the economy.
Other people believe that this latest wave of personnel adjustments is aimed at shifting attention from important matters by appointing new faces in areas that are under the president’s control, such as national security and diplomacy, to win back some of the confidence the public has lost in Ma.
Judging from some comments that have been made recently, this ploy may succeed to some extent, but ultimately it will fail to win the hearts of voters.
The reason for this is simple: The fact that Ma chooses to appoint his trusted aides instead of the most qualified people highlights his lack of self-confidence, and it also shows that he has nobody else available to fill these positions.
Perhaps the most ridiculous among the recent wave of personnel changes is the designation of Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairman.
Wang is only a little over 40 years old, making him the MAC’s youngest-ever chairman. It is not his youth itself that is the problem, but his lack of the expertise and experience that this important position requires, especially in face of a China that is putting Taiwan in an ever tighter spot.