Tue, Dec 03, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Former agriculture chief hits back at his old bosses

PARTING SHOT Fan Chen-tsung claimed that Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi hated farmers and that former president Lee Teng-hui was to blame for the agriculture sector's woes

By Ko Shu-Ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Outgoing Council of Agriculture Chairman Fan Chen-tsung (范振宗) used his farewell speech yesterday to attack present and former high-ranking members of the government.

At the handover ceremony, held at the council's headquarters, Fan spent about 40 minutes in his speech criticizing Premier Yu Shyi-kun, Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) and former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

Fan offered to resign last week following the government's policy U-turn regarding the credit units of farmers' and fishermen's associations. His replacement is Lee Chin-lung (李金龍), director of the council's Animal and Plant Quarantine Bureau.

Originally hesitating to name the Cabinet official who he had earlier criticized for "despising the agricultural sector," Fan yesterday said that he was talking about was Lin, who came from the industrial sector before joining the civil service two years ago.

"That person has publicly said that the production value of the agricultural sector accounts for less than 2 percent of the nation's GDP. That's totally erroneous and pure discrimination against the agricultural sector," Fan said.

In response, Lin, who was celebrating his 56th birthday at a party held by reporters at the Executive Yuan yesterday afternoon, said that he despised neither farmers nor the agricultural sector.

"Since I joined the civil service two-and-a-half years ago, I've despised only one kind of person: opportunist politicians," Lin said.

Fan also blamed Lee for ignoring the problems of the agricultural sector when he was president, leaving them for the current government to deal with.

Fan, who plans to campaign for Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), the DPP's Taipei City mayoral candidate, urged Lee Ying-yuan to stay away from Lee Teng-hui, whom he described as a tricky and ruthless politician who cares little about the politicians he endorses.

"When PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) was the Taiwan provincial governor, he didn't hesitate to compliment him. But look at how he treats him now," Fan said.

"If Soong is a bad guy, as Lee has claimed, Lee is even worse," Fan said. "And see how things have turned sour between Lee and Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) despite Lee's endorsement of Ma four years ago during the Taipei mayoral election."

Although Fan was less critical of Yu, he said the premier needed to improve his leadership skills.

"The premier works very hard, but it seems he doesn't know how to get to the finish line," Fan said.

Fan also complained about the Cabinet's restructuring proposals, in which the Cabinet plans to upgrade the Council of Agriculture to a ministry.

"I foresee the disintegration of the agricultural council, as the Cabinet plans to integrate the Fisheries Administration with the new ministry of maritime affairs and Taiwan Forestry Bureau with the new ministry of environmental resources," he said.

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