Tue, Sep 12, 2017 - Page 8 News List

The Liberty Times Editorial: New Cabinet offers a new chance

After 15 months on the job, former premier Lin Chuan (林全) tendered his resignation, saying he had accomplished his mission. Soon after his resignation was approved, he was replaced by former Tainan mayor William Lai (賴清德).

Since Lin became premier, the academic-turned-politician performed the tasks given to him by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) — he pushed through several changes as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the first time controlled both the Cabinet and the legislature.

He should be given due praise for doing this, but the overall performance of his Cabinet was unsatisfactory, and resulted in low approval ratings and frequent calls for a reshuffle.

To be fair, Lin made contributions to the nation during his term. Under his leadership, the Executive Yuan proposed the industrial innovation plan, the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and tax reform. It also initiated transitional justice, energy transformation and a five-day workweek, while beginning to implement long-term care, childcare, food safety, air pollution prevention and social housing policies.

The Lin Cabinet should also be credited for its cooperation with Tsai’s push for pension and judicial reform.

However, Lin undeniably failed to gain public support. He was strongly criticized for appointing “old pan-blue men,” and pan-green camp supporters found it difficult to agree with such appointments after the DPP regained power.

As expected, this “old” Cabinet lacked a fresh and aggressive approach, and the pan-blue members lacked local awareness and remained stuck in their old bureaucratic routines.

Many Cabinet members were also technocrats whose implementation and problem-solving abilities were inferior to their knowledge, and their ideas and attitudes were out of touch with the civil sector, common sense and the general public as they displayed an inability to understand people’s hardships.

They remained in their ivory towers and failed to act with a civil servant’s humility and communicate policy decisions to the public.

Another flaw was the absence of coordination, although this is a long-standing flaw that did not originate with Lin.

This departmentalism must be eliminated, because it is crucial that the government’s left hand knows what its right hand is doing, an issue that any Cabinet must address with urgency.

Lin’s insistence on certain issues and personnel appointments was also controversial.

The implementation of a five-day workweek should have been welcomed, but the “one fixed day and one flexible day off” workweek became inflexible due to changes to labor regulations.

This has hurt the economy and elicited a lot of complaints, causing workers, employers and the government to all lose.

Still, Lin insisted against amending the act, delivering a serious blow to the overall performance of his Cabinet.

In addition, the nation’s most urgent task is to boost the economy, but Lin — an economist — was criticized for appointing financial and economic officials who failed to boost the local economy even though the global economy was recovering.

Since this “financial gang” dominated the financial sector during Lin’s premiership, government agencies became more conservative. The long-term habit of officials shielding one another was exposed in the Mega Financial Holding Co case, and mistakes were repeatedly made in the Chang Hwa Commerical Bank case, badly hurting the Cabinet’s image.

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