Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Hsieh takes over Yu's heavy load

SWITCHEROO The former Kaohsiung mayor looked tense, but still managed to make jokes, as he saw at the hand-over ceremony how happy Yu was to be leaving the post

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun, left, yesterday hands over his position to his successor, former Kaohsiung City Mayor Frank Hsieh, right. The hand-over ceremony is supervised by Senior Presidential Adviser Peng Ming-min, center.


Despite the absence of a new vice premier, laughter still filled the Executive Yuan yesterday when outgoing Premier Yu Shyi-kun handed over his position to his successor, former Kaohsiung City Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government has been wishing to cooperate with the opposition parties to fill the vacancy left by former vice premier Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), but its overtures have so far been rejected.

Yu, who took over his new position as Presidential Office secretary-general from Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) before coming to the Executive Yuan to attend the hand-over ceremony yesterday morning, said that he was very happy to pass on the baton to someone else.

"When I took up the position about three years ago, I was 175.5cm tall, but then I became less than 175cm. I think it has a lot to do with the heavy workload of my job," he said. "I feel like I'm about to grow taller again since I just released the burden from my shoulders. From now on, no matter how much the burden weighs, it's not my responsibility but the new premier's."

Yu's remarks drew a round of laughter from a roomful of Cabinet officials and reporters. The hand-over ceremony was supervised by Senior Presidential Adviser Peng Ming-min (彭明敏).

Hsieh then presided over the hand-over ceremony of new Cabinet officials. They are Cabinet Secretary-General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元), director-general of the Central Personnel Administration Chang Chun-yen (張俊彥) and Minister of Justice Morley Shih (施茂林).

Apart from outlining the achievements made during his tenure, Yu expressed regret that certain priority bills deemed significant by the government failed to pass the last legislature.

Hsieh, who is known for his quick wit and sense of humor, appeared uptight at the event, but managed to crack some jokes and draw some laughter from the crowd.

"When I saw Yu's smiling face, I knew this is a tough job because he's so happy to leave it to me," he said. "I don't think I cannot afford to be any shorter because I'm pretty short already."

As Yu has likened his Cabinet team to "Shaolin monks," who managed to pass the challenge of the "18 Bronze Men," Hsieh asked Yu to kindly leave him some tips about how to do a good job in his new position.

Hsieh also pledged to run the government based on the foundation laid down by Yu and to equally develop the so-called "isosceles triangle" of public security, social justice and sustainable development.

"In line with what President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) told us today about being a `modest' ruling party, the new Cabinet team will be dedicated to talking with the public, the opposition parties, our own party members and the Presidential Office," he said.

During the opening speech of his first Cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon, Hsieh stressed the importance of co-existence with opposition parties.

"Co-existence is about tolerance, and about Taiwan first," he said. "Only through co-existence can self-identification be created."

Responding to a reporter's question at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) said that social security would precede national health insurance and tax reform.

"The bottom line is that we'll strengthen negotiations with the public and opposition parties, especially about politically sensitive or controversial bills, before sending them to the legislature for review," he said.

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