As the new Cabinet was officially sworn in yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he hoped his administration would succeed in providing peace and security for the nation, while Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said he would strive to make Taiwanese wealthier.
Ma and Chen were joined by Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) in a joint press conference held at the Presidential Office yesterday to discuss the new Cabinet.
“I hope the new Cabinet will lead to people leading happier lives and I also hope the Cabinet will fully comprehend the needs of the people,” Ma told reporters, adding that the primary mission of his new Cabinet would differ from those of previous ones.
Ma said that while reconstruction projects following Typhoon Morakot were under way and disease prevention measures had been partially implemented, new economic problems were facing the nation and the eurozone debt crisis was not the only looming threat.
He said after witnessing how extreme weather events had led to disasters in North America and Europe, the government had to take a more active approach toward preparing for potential threats.
“We cannot waste a second and the new Cabinet must be ready. We hope new members’ different fields of expertise will allow people to feel safe and secure,” Ma said.
In his speech, Chen said he wanted to revise a traditional adage: “A wealthy nation leads to a strong people.”
Instead, Chen said he wanted to adhere to the concept: “Wealthy people lead to a strong nation.”
If people are wealthy, the nation will become strong and that is a critical concept, Chen said.
While Wu, Chen’s predecessor, had touted the concept of a “grassroots economy,” the next step was an economy that “bestows wealth upon the people,” Chen added.
The term “wealth” should not only be limited to money, but also expanded to include living standards and culture, Chen said, adding that although he rarely resorted to slogans, his vision for the economy was “the establishment of prosperity, sharing and sustainable growth on the basis of security.”
The nation needs to steer away from an emphasis on low overhead and look toward technological and cultural innovation, while establishing a free-trade agreement network that will launch Taiwan into the international market, Chen said. The country also needs to reform the tax code within reason and increase social welfare provision, he said.
Chen traveled to Changhua County yesterday to meet with labor union leaders at a Lunar New Year gathering and presided over the opening of a Lantern Festival celebration in the evening.
Additional reporting by CNA