Tue, Mar 06, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Four new Cabinet officials appointed

CABINET RESHUFFLE Those ousted include the heads of the Environmental Protection Administration, the Atomic Energy Council and the National Science Council

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday appointed four new Cabinet members to join the DPP government, a move which he said was done to maintain political stability and stimulate economic development.

The four new Cabinet members chosen by the premier include New Party convener Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who replaces Lin Jun-yi (林俊義) as head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA, 環保署); Hu Chin-piao (胡錦標), who leaves his position of minister without portfolio to replace Hsia Der-yu (夏德鈺) as chairman of the Atomic Energy Council (AEC, 原能會); and Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), director of the institute of economics at Academia Sinica, who will fill the vacancy left by Hu Chin-piao.

Meanwhile, Vice President of National Chiao Tung University Wei Che-he (魏哲和) will replace Weng Cheng-i (翁政義) as head of the National Science Council (NSC, 國科會), Chang said yesterday.

Chang said that he had approved the resignation of Lin, the former head of the Environmental Protection Administration, because Lin insisted on taking responsibility for the delayed cleanup of a recent oil spill in southern Taiwan.

"However, I am impressed with Lin for setting a good example to all Cabinet members, since he was willing to shoulder all the political responsibility himself," Chang added, speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Chang also said Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭) would remain in her position, even though she had previously offered to resign.

In response, Yeh immediately returned to her post yesterday after several days of absence, saying that "I've decided to stay and I will do my best."

Even though the Cabinet decided to restart construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四) last month, after coming under pressure from the opposition, there has been much speculation that the Executive Yuan is seeking a way to reverse the decision.

New faces at the table

* Environmental Protection Administration

Hau Lung-bin, 49, is currently the New Party convener and a two-term legislator. Hau is the son of former premier Hau Pei-tsun and also teaches food science and technology at National Taiwan University.

* Atomic Energy Council

Hu Ching-piao, 57, is currently a minister without portfolio. Hu previously served as chairman of the Atomic Energy Council. The premier expects Hu's experience with the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant will help the Cabinet handle the plant's construction and to oversee the project's progress in terms of safety.

* Minister without portfolio

Hu Sheng-cheng, 61, is an economic adviser to Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh. Hu is currently director of the institute of economics at Academia Sinica. A colleague of former minister of finance Shea Jia-dong, Hu's expertise on public health care and social welfare economy is highly touted by the DPP government.

Source: taipei times

The premier, therefore, was questioned by reporters over whether Hau, who has said he support the nuclear project, would be an obstacle to the Cabinet's possible plans to hold a referendum at the year's end.

Chang, however, denied this would be a problem, saying that "the decision of the plant's fate had been decided by the Cabinet. It won't be altered simply because of one man's opinion."

Chang denied media speculation that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) orchestrated the reshuffle.

Chang said the president fully respected his decision over the new Cabinet appointments.

Echoing Chang's remarks, secretary-general to the president Yu Shyi-kun also said that Chen met with Hau last Saturday after Chang had decided to recruit Hau into his Cabinet.

"The president is absolutely not involved in the Cabinet reshuffle. He only asked the premier to complete it as soon as possible and to find better replacements," Yu said yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle confirmed prior speculation that ministers responsible for economic or financial portfolios, including Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), Minister of Finance Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), and Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development Chen Po-chih (陳博志), would not be dismissed.

In addition, Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗), whom the media speculated would be forced out, was also not on the list.

"As Tzeng has said many times, I've never asked him to meet me in my office," Chang said. "Is it possible that I will fire him [without informing him first]?" Chang added at yesterday's press conference.

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