President-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) plan to restore the appointment of senior advisers and national policy advisers to the president — a system that his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) strongly disapproved of during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration — has come under fire from the DPP.
Incoming Presidential Office secretary-general Chan Chun-po (詹春柏) visited Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) on Monday to discuss the plan, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday.
“Ma is considering restoring the appointments in accordance with the Organic Law of the Presidential Office (總統府組織法),” Wang said.
The KMT-dominated legislature last year passed a resolution freezing the fiscal 2008 budget for the president to appoint senior national policy advisers, saying the money could not be freed until the inauguration of a new government on May 20.
Based on the government’s fiscal 2008 budget statement, the budget for senior advisers, national policy advisers and strategic advisers amounted to NT$130 million (US$4.26 million).
“Ma is eligible to use the budget after his inauguration,” Wang said.
The DPP government suspended the annual appointment of senior advisers and national policy advisers in June 2006, a move President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) regarded as a step forward in promoting administrative reform.
Chen’s decision ended the half-century long system established by the former KMT regime and has saved the government about NT$140 million over the past two years.
The organic law states that the president is entitled to appoint up to 120 paid and unpaid senior advisers and national policy advisers, the report said.
“The KMT used to attack Chen for using the appointments of senior advisers and national policy advisers as rewards ... Why has the KMT allowed Ma to restore the system? The KMT keeps saying it wants to boost the economy. Why doesn’t it want to help the public save NT$70 million a year?” DPP caucus whip Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.
In response, KMT Legislator Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) said he was confident that Ma would select senior advisers and national policy advisers who can make a contribution to the country and not consider the positions as rewards or favors for his supporters.