President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has asked members of his new Cabinet to propose plans for visiting members of the public to increase interaction between voters and his administration.
At an interview with the new Cabinet on Feb. 11, Ma said he wanted all ministers and civil servants under them to go into the country and “home-stay” with the people, increasing communication with the public at large and expanding channels of communication between the administration and the people.
In response to Ma’s orders, Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Minister Sun Ta-chuan (孫大川) on Thursday asked Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) how ministers and civil servant should conduct the home-stays.
Sun said he and other CIP officials visited Aborigines every week and said that from his experience, Aborigines were “very friendly” and “like to drink.”
We drink a lot when we visit, and some have even drunk too much and now have health problems, Sun said, adding that if visiting the people would require “staying overnight,” it could be expected that everyone would be dead drunk.
Such things should be carefully planned, Sun said.
In response, Chen said that Ma’s directives were relatively long-term and he had already asked Executive Yuan Secretary-General Lin Yih-shih (林益世) to convene an intra-departmental meeting to further discuss the best methods of implementing the policy.
We should also define the purpose of the visits in accordance with the organizations’ characteristics, Chen said, adding that intra-departmental communication at the Cabinet-level should first be established.
Quoting Chen, Executive Yuan spokesperson Philip Yang (楊永明) said organizations that in the past had little reason to visit the countryside should plan in advance.
Yang added that they should adhere to principles such as “being honest, having two-way conversations, keeping a low-profile and thinking in the long term.”
They should also plan in advance the topics they would discuss with the people and think about how to resolve issues beforehand, Yang said, adding that if an issue could not be immediately resolved, a system of management and oversight should be put in place.
Departments that have had experience working with the general public are encouraged to share their experiences, Chen said.
Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) cited as an example his experience of being director of the Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen.
Kao said he often visited ageing veterans and veteran villages during his time at the commission, adding that he felt the plans proposed by Ma should be expanded.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer