President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday nominated Central Election Committee (CEC) Chairman Lai Hau-min (賴浩敏) as the head of the Judicial Yuan and former National Communications Commission chairman Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽) as his deputy.
They were also nominated as members of the Council of Grand Justices. Nominations to both bodies require confirmation by the Legislative Yuan.
Last month, Ma approved Lai In-jaw’s (賴英照) resignation as president of the Judicial Yuan, but asked him to stay on as a council member. Hsieh Tsai-chuan (謝在全) took over as acting Judicial Yuan president until a replacement is found for the post.
Lai In-jaw quit in the midst of a corruption scandal involving three Taiwan High Court judges and one prosecutor suspected of taking bribes from a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker.
Ma yesterday also approved Lai In-jaw’s and Hsieh’s retirement as council members.
Ma told a press conference he had chosen Lai Hau-min and Su because both are honest and highly professional, with Lai a trained lawyer and Su a veteran law professor.
The two have experience in leading independent government agencies and are good at coordination and negotiation, Ma said, adding that they both cared about judicial reform and had the passion to restore public trust in the judiciary.
Ma said he expected the pair to push what he called the “people’s judicial reform” whereby the Judicial Yuan will join forces with honest judicial personnel as well as experts and individuals to clean up the justice system.
“For judicial reform to be successful, it cannot be dictated by a few people,” he said. “We want the help of everybody so we will know what they think and how they feel.”
Lai Hau-min said he was “shocked” by the president’s nomination, but decided to accept the responsibility with great pleasure.
Born in Miaoli and a graduate of National Taiwan University, Lai Hau-min also has a master’s degree in law from the University of Tokyo. He co-founded the Formosa Transnational law firm and practiced law for 46 years. He served as a CEC member for more than 20 years and was appointed chairman in September last year.
Lai Hau-min said he empathized with those disappointed at the justice system, saying there is a significant gap between the system and public expectations. The 71-year-old pledged to commit himself to judicial reform if the legislature confirms his nomination.
He said people wanted to see high-quality verdicts and judges who are even-tempered, clean, just and effective.
“They are not asking too much,” he said.
In addition to cracking down on corruption, Lai Hau-min said prevention was equally important and the long-term goal was to stamp out graft among civil servants. To that end, he said it was important to consolidate public consensus and map out the most effective and reasonable measures.
“People are getting impatient and hope to see some results,” Lai Hau-min said.
Su, former National Security Council secretary-general Su Chi’s (蘇起) younger brother, is a friend of Ma from high school and university.
He said the nomination was a great honor, but also an onerous challenge and formidable task.
The 59-year-old, who has been teaching law for 29 years, said he decided to accept the challenge because there was no reason for him to abstain from the opportunity at a critical moment.