Government Information Office (GIO) Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平), who doubles as Executive Yuan spokeswoman, will step down from the Cabinet tomorrow and leave for Singapore in the near future to serve as representative to the Southeast Asian nation.
Shih’s successor will be Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓), the Taoyuan County Government’s Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) chief, who will assume the post on Jan. 5 after the New Year break.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) will make the announcement after the Cabinet’s year-end press conference today and the handover ceremony is scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Su, born in 1976, was one of the three main spokespersons for President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election campaign team, together with Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強).
After the election victory, Wang was named Presidential Office spokesman, while Lo was appointed deputy president of the state-owned Central News Agency in early October.
Su vowed at the time that he would neither seek a position in the Presidential Office nor in the Cabinet and returned to his position in the Taoyuan County Government.
Before that, he was legislative assistant for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄).
Ma borrowed Su from Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) in January last year when he was KMT chairman, making Su the party’s tub-thumper.
Su earned a PhD in environmental engineering at National Taiwan University.
Shih’s departure means she is the third top official to leave the Cabinet, following Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁), who resigned as health minister during the tainted Chinese milk products scandal in September, and former Financial Supervisory Commission chairman Gordon Chen (陳樹), who left his post earlier this month.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) yesterday backed Shih’s appointment, calling her a “fitting candidate” to be the nation’s representative to Singapore.
“She is a career diplomat. I believe she is both a fitting and competent candidate to shoulder the task of maintaining Taiwan’s friendly relations with Singapore,” Ou said.
Ou refused to confirm the rumor that Shih would take over the Singapore office on Jan. 15, because the Singaporean government has yet to approve Shih’s appointment.
Ou, however, said official approval should be received in the next few days.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU