Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday called for a Cabinet reshuffle amid public discontent about its poor performance, and denied intending to join the Cabinet after completing his second and final term as the capital’s mayor next year.
“Taiwanese people are frustrated with the slow economy, environmental issues and food safety scandals. They are concerned about the Cabinet’s slow response and poor execution of policies. The premier should form a new Cabinet with cooperative experts and bring new changes to the public,” he said yesterday after attending a Hakka joint wedding ceremony at the Taipei Hakka Culture Park.
Hau’s criticism of the Cabinet’s performance sparked concerns about political implications behind the remarks.
He said that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has been working closely with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and that Jiang should find new Cabinet members who would be cooperative, and demonstrate good execution abilities in implementing government policies.
“What matters is new ambience and new talent” for the Cabinet, he said.
In another move that seemed to be at odds with the Ma administration, Hau called on the government to consider abolishing the Special Investigation Division (SID) as he questioned the credibility of the division over its wiretapping while investigating an alleged undue influence case.
“The SID’s recent wiretapping and its handling of the [alleged] lobbying case has caused public concern about its credibility. The government should seriously consider abolishing the division,” he said.
Citing the Ministry of Justice Prosecutors’ Evaluation Committee, Hau said the SID has damaged its credibility through abusing its powers by carrying out wiretapping in the name of investigating a criminal matter.
He said that the government, in accordance with the law, handle the matter of Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) allegedly using his position to influence the outcome of a court case.
He denied being at odds with Ma regarding the SID.
“I just say what I believe and do what I think I should do,” he said.
One of the potential presidential candidates for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the 2016 presidential election, Hau has been known as a critic of the Ma administration on several policies, from the US beef import issue to whether a pardon should be granted to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
In celebration of his seventh anniversary as Taipei mayor next week, Hau is to visit cities and counties in southern pan-green strongholds. The move is seen as an attempt to expand his support base and gain more political strength for his presidential bid.
KMT spokesman Yang Wei-chung (楊偉中) yesterday dismissed Hau’s comments on the SID, and said the government and the party shared the stance that the SID has its functions, and should not be abolished.