"We need a water resources expert to be our vice minister of economic affairs" was the reason the premier gave as he relieved Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yin Chi-ming (
Premier Frank Hsieh's (
The premier also accepted the resignation of Taiwan Water Corporation (TWC) Chairman Lee Wen-liang (
PHOTO: LIAO CHEN-HUI, TAIPEI TIMES
He did not, however, accept the offers to step down made by Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (
"Lee's request was approved because the TWC is directly responsible for the water shortage this time, since its facilities could not function normally to maintain regular water supplies when needed," Hsieh said. "Lee is the head of the company, so he needs to take that responsibility."
Yin had not offered his resignation and was not targeted as a name on the punishment list, but Hsieh said that Yin's position will be "re-arranged."
Hsieh said there are three vice ministers of economic affairs but none is a water resource professional.
"We do need an expert in the field to take one of the three positions," the premier said.
According to the Liberty Times, the Taipei Times' sister newspaper, former Water Resources Bureau director Hsu Hsiang-kun (
However, the Cabinet had not confirmed Yin's replacement as of press time last night.
After the premier made the remarks yesterday morning, local TV news immediately reported that Yin was being demoted as punishment for the water problems in Taoyuan. But the government did not want the press to characterize it that way.
During a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (
"I just want to make a correction that the premier never said Yin would be demoted. However, demoting him is also a possible `adjustment.' It is just not a done deal yet," Cho said.
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