Tue, Mar 19, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Minister said to have lost temper over reform plan

HEARSAY AND GOSSIP While a draft of changes to the Cabinet's Organization Law is nearing completion, rumors of a split between the executive and legislative branches emerged yesterday

STAFF WRITER

The draft amendment to the Cabinet's Organization Law (行政院組織法) will be completed by the end of March, but conflicting accounts of the deliberations that will decide the future shape of the government are emerging.

The legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee (法制委員會) yesterday invited the director of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (行政院研考會), Lin Chia-cheng (林嘉誠), to give a progress report on the draft.

During the meeting, Lin was questioned by the PFP's Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠), the KMT's Huang Ter-fu (黃德福) and the DPP's Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) about government reform.

Huang pointed out that he had heard that Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), secretary-general to the president, "lost his temper" at a meeting last Saturday, when he is said to have cut off further debate on the Cabinet plan, saying that "there's no need to look further into the Cabinet's draft proposal" and that a draft proposal prepared by scholars should be discussed instead. Lin said that he could not remember hearing Chen making the remarks.

Huang went on to say that, according to the account he heard, a majority of those present were afraid to speak up after Chen lost his temper.

Huang also claimed to have been told that one committee member had thumped the table, saying that Chen should not rule out discussion of the Cabinet proposal, but was quickly shot down.

Lin answered Huang by saying that since the Government Reform Committee (政府改造委員會) is a consultative body to the president, it should collect both governmental and non-governmental proposals and each committee member could express his or her opinion.

Huang then lost his patience with Lin, asserting that no one dared say anything after Chen lost his temper and that Lin should admit to the events of the meeting.

Huang then said Chen was biased against the work of the scholars who authored the academic proposal, which was prepared by Ke Cheng-hsiang (柯承享) and Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) of the Taiwan Thinktank (台灣智庫).

Huang charged that Chen was just looking for a pretext to criticize their work.

Lin once again pointed out that the reform committee was only a consultative body to the president and that the president and the legislature would work together to reform the government.

Lin emphasized that communications between the commission and Nita Ing (殷琪) at the reform committee were very good and that Ing visited the commission several times a week.

He went on to say that what now remains of the government downsizing process is dealing with differing opinions regarding the names and mergers of government agencies.

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