Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday appointed Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee member Sean Lien (連勝文) as a board member of EasyCard Corp, in an apparent bid to have Lien elected as chairman of the company.
The Taipei City Government, which owns 12 percent of the company’s stock, is the biggest single stockholder, and has dominated elections for the company chairman since it was founded in 2000.
Hau said he expects Lien to use his expertise and creativity in finance to expand the use of the MRT’s EasyCard and to strengthen the company’s cooperation with private banks, thus improving the company’s finances.
Hau denied that political motivations guided the appointment.
“The appointment is not a political compensation. Lien is an expert in finance, and has been offered major positions in banks. He doesn’t need any political compensations,” Hau said during a press gathering at Taipei City Hall.
Lien, son of former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), promised to focus his efforts on improving the company’s performance, and urged the public not to politicize his appointment.
“My job is to fulfill my responsibility, and I don’t want people to associate my position with politics,” he said.
The appointment, however, attracted widespread criticism from pan-green Taipei City councilors, who denounced Hau and the KMT for arranging for Sean Lien to use the company for his own political advancement and ignoring EasyCard users’ rights.
“Sean Lien was given the position because he is the son of Lien Chan, and because he is a promising star in the KMT,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) said yesterday.
“How can he lead the company without administrative experience and expertise in the transportation field?” Wu said.
DPP Taipei City councilors Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) and Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) also challenged Sean Lien’s ability to turn the company into a profitable business, and urged Hau to find a real expert in the field to lead the company.
Statistics provided by Lee and Chien showed that the company had debts of NT$2.7 billion (US$8.6 million) by 2006.
The company has 19 board members, with eight of them appointed by the city government. Sean Lien was appointed to replace former company chairman Chen Yu-chang (陳裕璋).