Wed, Feb 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Close aide to Chen Shui-bian becomes Yu's new deputy

MUSICAL CHAIRS Ma Yung-cheng became Yu's second-in-command while the president urged the new Cabinet to be humble and mature

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Presidential Office Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun yesterday approved as his new deputy Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成), a close aide to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Born in 1965 in a Mainlander community in Taichung, Ma has been a longtime follower of Chen. Ma has worked with Chen since the late 1980s when Chen was still a legislator. Later, when Chen became Taipei mayor, Ma became Chen's right-hand man, taking care of negotiations with other powerful politicians.

Ma will fill the post left vacant by Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who is now the Cabinet spokesman.

Former premier Yu Shyi-kun took over as secretary-general of the Presidential Office yesterday.

Yu, who stepped down from the premiership earlier yesterday, took over the official seal of the presidential chief of staff from Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) in a changeover ceremony presided over by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) at the Presidential Office.

Su was elected chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Meanwhile, Chen yesterday urged Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and new Cabinet members to avoid administering controversial policies rashly so that the mutual trust could be built between the government and the opposition. He said humbleness was the key to opening political dialogues and to keeping the people's faith in the government.

Chen made the remarks when he presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the new premier and new ministers at the Presidential Office.

"Although most of Cabinet members remained in their offices and the personnel of the new Cabinet was only fine-tuned, I have great expectations for it," Chen said to the assembled Cabinet members. "I hope it will create a new milestone for Taiwan and that we can embark on a new political phase with reconciliation and cooperation."

Chen also encouraged the new Cabinet to show its humbleness when implementing new policies and negotiating with opposition parties so that they have a strong position from which to ask the opposition to supervise the government rationally.

"Given that we are the ruling party, we have to be humble in mind and in action during the policy-making process and should be ready to listen to and adopt different voices and opinions," Chen said.

"I recommend that you actively invite the opposition parties to participate in making governmental policies and take their proposals into considerations," he said. "And you should not announce or conduct those policies that are still controversial and untested in a rash manner which might destroy both the mutual trust that is built between the government and the opposition, and people's expectations and faith in the government."

Stressing the importance of transparency when it comes to the political cooperation, Chen suggested that the new Cabinet conduct structural reforms on three issues that are highly relevant to people's lives -- the improvement of the National Health Insurance system, the reform of the tax system and the amelioration of social security.

"These three issues are closely connected to people's livelihood and concern with the sustainable development of the country," Chen said. "However, for quite some time, the government only fine-tuned or slightly altered its policies when encountering problems and did not conduct a overall examination on the questions."

"It is our responsibility to win back justice for people," Chen said.

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