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Thu, May 25, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Freshman NSC head apologizes to legislature

NEW POSITION The newly appointed chairman apologized for his ignorance of the council's affairs


The new chairman of the National Science Council (NSC), Weng Cheng-I (翁政義), yesterday apologized profusely to legislators for his ignorance of the council's ongoing activities during his first policy report to the Legislative Yuan.

The former president of a well-known university was chided by lawmakers who likened him to a student who had failed his examinations.

Being ignorant of the council's affairs, Weng was sometimes unable to reply to questions at the meeting. However, NSC Vice Chairman, Steve Hsieh (薛香川), who has held the position for many years, was able to answer most of the difficult questions yesterday.

"I feel so sorry because I cannot answer the questions," Weng said, adding that yesterday was his third day as NSC chairman.

Weng apparently expected that his explanation would exempt him from being grilled by legislators.

"You look like a student who's failing his examinations," said KMT legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中).

"You may not have had enough time to prepare for the question and answer session, but at least you should earn support from your team members first and fight here with them," said KMT legislator Lee Sen-zong (李顯榮)

Legislators said that Weng should had not be exempted from the difficult learning curve required to be a Cabinet-level committee head, even though he had accepted the nomination at the last minute after a political conflict occurred within the DPP.

Last Friday, an anxious Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) rang Weng, inquiring if he would take over the NSC chairmanship that had previously been given to incumbent Tainan County Commissioner Mark Chen (陳唐山).

During the questioning, it became apparent that inadequate support from staff appointed by legislators was going to be a problem.

Taking satellite-related projects as examples, the DDP's Chen Chung-shin (陳忠信) said that details regarding two satellites, ROCSAT-1 and ROCSAT-3, described in the reports were out-of-date.

"It's difficult for me to believe that NSC officials would take such an arbitrary attitude toward the Legislative Yuan," Chen said, adding that NSC officials had previously concealed up-to-date information from outsiders.

Experienced public administration experts said that Weng's problem with the existing bureaucracy would not be the only one for the new government.

"If he doesn't establish a mechanism of mutual trust with his staff, Weng will be dominated by technical bureaucrats," Ricky Wu (吳定), a public administration professor at National Chengchi University, said yesterday.

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