Mon, Dec 01, 2008 - Page 1 News List

No Cabinet reshuffle in the works: Ma

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER, IN HUALIEN

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday there won’t be a Cabinet reshuffle until next year at the earliest.

“There won’t be any change in the near future,” Ma said. “It probably won’t happen until next year.”

The recent resignation of Financial Supervisory Commission chairman Gordon Chen (陳樹) was not part of any Cabinet reshuffle and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) took a long time to approve his resignation, Ma said.

He made the remarks on a train to Hualien yesterday morning. He visited Liyutan (鯉魚潭) to preside over the opening of a bicycle trail and then visited the Amis Cultural and Millet Hall, where he spent NT$22,215 on local snacks before heading to Hualien City to hear from local residents.

Asked about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, Ma said Chen’s resignation was an isolated incident and that the evaluation of government officials was an ongoing process.

Ma did not give a specific answer on whether there would be a Cabinet reshuffle before the Lunar New Year, which begins on Jan. 26, but said there was risk involved in being a political appointee and elected official.

“That is one of the main reasons why many people are not interested in public service jobs or state-own businesses, because there are many restrictions and sacrifices, but very few benefits,” he said. “Whether Cabinet officials will be able to keep their jobs will depend on how well they perform.”

If there is any change in the Cabinet, Ma said, the procedure stipulated in the Constitution is that the premier recommends candidates to the president.

He said he has been in close contact with Liu on the matter and it was up to Liu to decide on a reshuffle.

Ma would not say if financial appointees would face stricter scrutiny because of the global financial crisis, only saying that national leaders must shoulder all consequences of the economic crisis.

While Taiwan’s fundamentals were sound, it would take some time for the government’s economic stimulus package to be effective, he said.

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