Thu, Jun 03, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Mayor Ma misses a second weekly Cabinet meeting

PRIORITIES The Taipei mayor, who took part in the Computex trade show when the meeting was in session, said municipal affairs are more important to him

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was absent yesterday from the second weekly Cabinet meeting since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inauguration on May 20.

He said it was more important for him to take part in municipal activities than to attend the Cabinet meeting, since he had been elected by Taipei's citizens.

Instead of attending the Cabinet meeting, Ma yesterday participated in the annual Computex trade show at the Taipei World Trade Center. He sent Deputy Mayor Ou Chin-der (歐晉德) to the meeting as his proxy.

"I would attend the Cabinet meeting if issues concerning the city government were to be discussed. Regulations allow me to send the deputy mayor on my behalf," Ma said.

He said that he had been elected by the citizens of Taipei, and therefore activities related to municipal affairs are his highest priority.

"Besides, mayors of Taipei City and Kaohsiung City are simply nonvoting delegates in the Cabinet meeting. It is not obligatory for me to attend," he said.

In response to Ma's second absence from the weekly Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said yesterday that the meeting was a good platform for the Taipei City Government to communicate with the central government and that Ma should not give up this opportunity to make things better.

"It does not help to solve problems existing between the central government and the city government if Ma is absent from meetings or makes non-constructive comments outside the meeting," Chen Chi-mai said.

According to Chen Chi-mai, the meetings offer Ma the opportunity to discuss with the Cabinet whether it is appropriate for the city government to unilaterally announce the score range of the Basic Competency Tests for the city's junior high school graduates.

Last week, when Ma missed the new Cabinet's first weekly meeting to attend a flood control drill held by the city government, Chen Chi-mai said that the Cabinet would "make the best tea and wait for Mayor Ma to attend next week's meeting."

Ma denied that his absence from the meetings had anything to do with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-People First Party (PFP) alliance's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Chen Shui-bian administration.

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