Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Legislators slam CPA minister

POOR TIMING A newspaper said Chen Ching-hsiu had proposed, among other things, that government personnel could attend concerts every two months

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Legislators across party lines yesterday slammed Central Personnel Administration (CPA) Minister Chen Ching-hsiu (陳清秀) for his plan to hold outings for high-ranking Cabinet officials.

When asked for comment, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the administration should change its name to the “Personnel Tourism Bureau” for proposing such a policy.

Lo criticized the plan, saying that holding frequent outings for high-ranking officials amid the economic downturn was inappropriate.

She urged Chen to “stop proposing policies that would have a negative impact on the Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] administration’s approval ratings.”

Lo’s criticism came after a report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday quoted an unidentified official as saying that Chen had proposed that high-ranking government personnel attend concerts or art exhibitions or go mountain climbing every two months.

KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said although the policy was well-meaning, the CPA should have considered that the public could react negatively to the plan.

Defending the CPA, new Government Information Office Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the policy was meant to enhance communication between different government branches and that many other countries had taken similar measures.

But he said that the CPA should have considered the public’s likely reaction to the plan.

In reaction to the plans, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said “Newspapers reported on their front pages yesterday about a mother and son who died of hunger in this cold winter, but officials have the gall to talk about leave, which is so insensitive to public sentiment.”

Lai said that no government officials cared about the tragedy.

DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said Chen Ching-hsiu was trying to curry favor with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) by arranging vacations for Ma and Cabinet members.

“You should write down Ma’s recent remarks about how officials should feel people’s pain and put the words up in his office,” Chen Ting-fei said.

Meanwhile, Su dismissed media speculation that there would be a large-scale Cabinet reshuffle.

Su defended the Cabinet after an opinion poll in the Chinese-language China Times showed 35 percent of the 955 respondents were dissatisfied with Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) and 40 percent were unhappy with Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘).

“I believe the premier knows everyone [in the Cabinet] has worked very hard. Since the public has high expectations for us, we should accept [their criticism] with humility,” Su said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG

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