Thu, Feb 24, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Six Star Plan to improve people's lives

TWINKLE, TWINKLE The Cabinet has announced a new and ambitious program to improve the quality of life of 20 million people in Taiwan within the next 10 years

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet yesterday officially began to promote its "Six-Star Plan for Taiwan's Local Communities."

"`Six Stars' means six aspects that the Cabinet will help local governments work on to establish better communities with better living environments," said Chou Jung-tai (卓榮泰), the Cabinet's spokesman.

"Now that it has been officially announced, it will become one of our top priority policies in the next 10 years," he said.

Chou made his remarks during a press conference after a weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday morning. He said that the "Six Star Plan" was the most important announcement made during the meeting.

According to Chou, the "Six Stars" are the development of the local business administration; improving the social welfare and medical system; bettering culture and education; maintaining public safety; protecting the environment and preserving natural scenery.

Chou said that the Six Star Plan was proposed by the Council of Cultural Affairs (文建會) during a meeting on Feb. 15. It is the Cabinet's hope that at least 10,000 new communities which meet the Six Star Plan's requirements will be established within 10 years.

"If that happens, approximately 20 million people will be able to enjoy a quality life. That is the spirit of the plan," Chou said.

According to the Cabinet, now that the Six Star Plan has been revealed, the central government will help local governments establish a mechanism for implementing the plan, in addition to providing the necessary publicity.

The plan will begin to be carried out next year once the mechanism is completed. In 2007, the Cabinet will work on the project at full throttle.

"And in 2008, we will be expecting some results for our efforts," Chou said. "This Six Star Plan will not only create a better environment for us, but will also create more job opportunities," he said.

As for the problem of coming up with funds for the plan, Chou said that the necessary cost of the plan will be paid out of the Cabinet's excess annual budget this year.

In the future, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics will come up with an exclusive budget for the project, he said.

"However, as of now, I cannot give you an accurate figure of how much money we may need," he said.

In related news, during yesterday's regular weekly meeting, Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) asked unnecessary officials not to attend the weekly meeting anymore, saying that they should stay at their posts and work.

Chou said that in addition to this new rule, the premier also said that his fellow Cabinet members are more than welcome to visit him in his office whenever they have to talk to him, instead of putting off issue after issue and eventually bringing them up all at once during the weekly meetings.

"The weekly meeting will become a period for Cabinet members to discuss cross-ministry affairs or issues. The new rule will save everybody a lot of time and make the meetings more efficient," Chou said.

Since Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) left the meeting early, this immediately sparked speculation that Hsieh's rule that "unnecessary personnel do not have to attend the meeting" was targeted at Ma.

"Let me rephrase," Chou said. "`Unnecessary personnel' means officials who are not the heads of the offices. The premier did not refer to any specific person or so. Please do not get me wrong."

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