Newly appointed Finance Minister Lin Chuan (
Before joining then Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian's (
As a successful investor himself, Lin accumulated his personal wealth by making profitable stock investments while becoming popular as a private lecturer specializing in the analysis of the development of the local stock market.
PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES
Recommended by colleagues who were close to Chen, Lin began serving the nation's first DPP Taipei City mayor and built up mutual trust and close ties with him after serving as director of Taipei's Bureau of Finance. Never a supporter of the DPP, Lin told Chen that he had voted for New Party mayoral candidate Jaw Shau-kong (
Aiming to turn rigid economic theories into practical knowledge, Lin accepted Chen's offer and stepped out of the ivory tower. After that he managed the city's annual budget of some NT$180 billion and NT$3.6 trillion worth of assets for three years.
"As the city's treasurer, Lin's performance was highly regarded by Chen since he managed to pay the city's debts left over by Chen's predecessor," said DPP legislator Luo Wen-jia (羅文嘉), once a top aide to Chen.
Besides issuing bonds to raise funds, Lin blueprinted the city's first build-operate-transfer (BOT) project -- the yet to-be-completed 101-storey Taipei Financial Center -- after having generated over NT$20 billion from the bond issue, Luo said.
Lin's mainlander ethnic background and alienation from the opposition camp once stood out in Chen's administration, but later he mingled very well with other city officials, Luo said.
"He has set up his working style by formulating a system, following through with the rules and dismissing the opposition with reason and convincing numbers," Luo said.
Lin often sticks to his idealistic perspectives, speaking stubbornly and freely to politicians across all party lines during his entire political career.
Tseng Chu-wei (
His stubbornness, however, can sometimes get him into trouble. During Chen's presidential campaign in early 2000, Lin helped formulate and present the presidential white paper of finance policies, which included one controversial proposal of levying a securities income tax (
Despite the controversy, Lin was appointed as head of the Director-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) after Chen won the presidential bid in 2000, managing central government's annual budgets.
As the nation's top statistician, Lin has successfully won legislative support and re-allocated the central government's Tax Redistribution Fund (
"He was authorized to bring his fiscal expertise into full play without having to sacrifice professionalism or make political compromises in that [his former] position," Tseng said.
Equipped with solid professionalism in public finance, taxation and insights into the stock market, Lin, who has an economics Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, is widely believed to be qualified for the new job.
Tseng believes Lin will gradually realize his ideal of decentralizing power and budgets, in accordance with the spirit of autonomy in local government, after taking office tomorrow.
But Lin's lack of experience in the nation's banking sector has worried market watchers who would like to see him address the nation's No. 1 financial issue -- banking reform and the cleanup of non-performing loans, estimated at NT$1.43 trillion as of September.
"I doubt Lin will play a leading role in taking the initiative to carry out banking reform," said a Taipei-based multinational investment bank CEO, who requested anonymity.
But Tseng said money and banking are related to economics and Lin should soon be on the right track.
Actually, in June 1996, Lin successfully dealt with a bank run on the Sungshan Farmers' Association in Taipei. He demonstrated his ability to dismiss a small-scale crisis by disclosing the association's banking information to earn back depositors' confidence within two days.
Tseng, however, expressed concern whether Lin -- a "smart, yet stubborn" scholar -- will easily adapt himself to the new position, which requires highly polished political skills to handle pressure from various interest groups.
"He is sure to face a fickle policy-making environment, where he may have to make compromises or trigger conflicts while trying to emphasize professionalism," Tseng said in the hopes that the president -- the real policy-maker behind the scene -- will fully support and allow him to make breakthroughs.
Keeping his private life very low profile, Lin's second marriage with his secretary in September, came as a big surprise even to many of his colleagues, who said that Lin leads a very simple, and sometimes boring life. His two biggest dreams in life, however, are to help realize a true municipalism and found a liberal arts college in Taiwan.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
ANOTHER IMPORT: A Filipina who arrived on Friday to visit family developed a fever on Saturday and test results yesterday were positive, making her Taiwan’s 465th case The government’s real-name mask purchasing system is to be continued until at least the end of the year, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported a new imported COVID-19 case from the Philippines. The center would continue to requisition mask production to ensure people can buy masks using the real-name system until the end of December, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman. While the CECC requisitions about 8 million masks per day to ensure there are enough for the real-name system, more than 10 million masks are produced per day