Only three of nearly 2,000 military officials and contract workers with the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) passed a civil service examination held at the end of last year, CGA Director Wang Chun (王郡) said yesterday.
"It is a shame that we had such a bad performance in the exam. We were just not properly prepared for it," Wang said.
The exam was the first of its kind held for military officials and contract workers with the CGA who have not acquired official civil-service status through a national examination.
The CGA, established two years ago, is a combination of the former coast command of the military, the marine police and certain branches of the customs office.
CGA organizational rules require that all military officials and contract workers obtain official civil-service status within eight years of the administration's creation.
The exam results were announced last month. The three CGA officials that passed accounted for less than 1 percent of the 190 examinees that passed the test nationwide.
The results were dismal compared to the 30 percent that the CGA had estimated for its participants.
The exam failures were discussed yesterday at a hearing of the Legislative Yuan's Interior Committee during an interpellation session with CGA director Wang.
Wang said he was embarrassed to admit to the poor showing of his staff on the exam, which he attributed to their failure to be fully prepared.
But KMT lawmaker Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳學聖) took issue with Wang's explanation, saying that the three CGA officials who passed the exam clearly had enough time to properly prepare, while most others did not.
"The three CGA officials [that passed] had time because they stayed most of the time in their offices, while most of the other examinees had to work outside doing tough jobs most of the time," Chen said.
Chen pointed out a fact that Wang could not deny. Most of the military officials with the CGA are assigned time-consuming tasks such as patrolling the coast and checking fishing vessels.
"We just don't have time to read. We have so much work to do, both during the day and at night," said a military official with the CGA, who declined to be identified.
"We just don't understand why we have to take an exam to acquire official civil service status. Are military officials not civil servants? If not, why are we assigned the duty of defending the country?" he said.