Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 3 News List

CPA discusses presidential leave

OVERWORKED? The minister of the Central Personnel Administration said that a presidential retreat similar to the US leaders’ Camp David was under consideration

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of the Central Personnel Administration (CPA) Chen Ching-hsiu (陳清秀) said yesterday that his office would draft vacation regulations for the head of state.

The issue of whether President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should take vacations came under discussion following a Chinese-language United Daily News report that said Ma had not taken a single day off since he was inaugurated on May 20.

Chen said that personally, he thinks Ma should take at least one day off per month and that he should have at least seven paid days off per year in line with other civil servants.

The CPA will take presidential leave records of various nations into consideration when drafting the regulations, Chen said, adding that the CPA and the Ministry of Civil Service had met on Monday and decided to build a system governing leave and holidays for the head of state.

“We will take all kinds of plans into consideration and do not exclude the possibility of building a presidential retreat, such as the US presidents’ Camp David,” he said.

Camp David, established in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland in 1942, is a private, secluded place for recreation, contemplation, rest and relaxation for US presidents.

Chen said the CPA had reached a consensus with the Ministry of Civil Service on formulating regulations for presidential vacations during the two agencies’ regular meeting on Monday.

Presidential Office Spokeswoman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday that Ma was not in the mood to take vacations because of the economic situation.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said she would like to see Ma take some time off as he often looked tired in media pictures.

Disapproving of the CPA’s plan, Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) slammed Chen for fawning on Ma, saying that Chen was oblivious to the hardships of ordinary people.

“It’s ironic that while most people are concerned about jobs and how to get by on reduced incomes, the officials appointed by Ma are concerned with how to let him take vacations,” Lai said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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