Sat, Apr 06, 2002 - Page 3 News List

DPP defends `greening' of firms

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although the "greening" of two state-run enterprises has upset opposition parties and company management, political observers and lawmakers justified the move as "natural."

Defenders of the appointments say the DPP is just doing what the KMT did when it was in power.

"There's nothing wrong with appointing your own men in state-run enterprises when you come to power," said Lee Kuo-hsiung (李國雄), deputy director of the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University.

Much of the furor over the matter stems from the fact that the DPP used to criticize the KMT for engaging in such practices when it was in power.

"When the DPP was in opposition, it castigated the KMT for deploying unprofessional personnel in state-run businesses and criticized the appointments as political patronage," Lee said.

"But when it comes to power, the DPP is repeating what the KMT used to do," he said.

Facing opposition criticism, DPP lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) admitted that the appointments are part of the DPP's plan to pave the way for victory in the year-end mayoral elections, as well as in the 2004 presidential election.

"It is, after all, hard to ignore the resources of state-run companies because they can be used to aid the party's political agendas," he said.

"If they [the appointees] do a good job in their new positions, voters will use their ballots to show their support for us. And if they don't, they'll also let us know."

Since the DPP came to power in May 2000, it has replaced at least four high-ranking officials in state-run corporations.

In May last year, the KMT's Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) was replaced by Kuo Yen-tu (郭炎土) as the chairman of China Steel Corp (中鋼).

Both Wang and Kuo have more than 20 years experience in the steel industry.

Last month, the former vice chairman of the Commission of National Corporations (國營會), Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵), was appointed as the chairman of Taiwan Power Company (台電), replacing Hsi Shih-chi (席時濟).

DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) is also scheduled to be sworn in as the chairman of Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖) on Monday.

Wu, who holds an economics degree, is to replace the KMT's Chien Ping-tsai (錢秉才).

Also last month, former DPP lawmaker Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) replaced Yu Kuang-hwa (余光華) as chairman of Taiwan Salt Industrial Corp (台鹽).

Yu's 12-year record of success at Taiwan Salt also earned him the chairman's position at another money-making privatized state-run company, Taiwan Fertilizer Company (台肥).

Former DPP lawmaker Tseng Chen-nung (曾振農) may also take up the position of chairman at Lucent Technologies Taiwan Telecommunications (美台電訊), a transfer-investment company of the Chunghwa Telecom.

The former chairman of the company, Susan Su (蘇治芬), who is a freshman DPP lawmaker, offered her resignation after being elected as a legislator in December last year.

Lee said that the DPP has legitimate reasons for putting its own people in top spots at state-run businesses.

"When the DPP was in opposition, it didn't have many members from the industrial and business sectors because they [individuals in the private-sector] didn't dare to have any connections with the party," Lee said.

So when it comes to power, the party can only appoint its allies, regardless of their professional abilities, he said.

"Former minister of economic affairs Christine Tsung (宗才怡) is a perfect example," Lee said.

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