Legislators and academics expressed doubts at a public hearing yesterday held by the legislature’s Committee of the Whole Yuan about the president’s nominations for vice president of the Examination Yuan as well as its members.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) last month nominated former Presidential Office secretary-general Wu Jin-lin (伍錦霖) as vice president of the Examination Yuan, as well as former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) and National Taiwan University professor Hwang Giin-tarng (黃錦堂) as members of the civil service testing branch.
According to the Additional Articles of the Constitution, the Examination Yuan has one president, one vice president and 19 members — known as ministers without portfolio — all of whom are nominated by the president of the Republic of China and confirmed by the legislature.
However, Ma’s nominations were questioned, especially Wu’s.
Wu has served as Examination Yuan vice president, but the position was left vacant when he became Presidential Office secretary-general in January last year, lawyer Huang Tung-hsiung (黃東熊) said.
“Are central government posts reserved only for certain individuals?” Huang said.
People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪) also raised the issue of loyalty to the position, asking if it was reasonable and suitable for a former Examination Yuan vice president to leave the post only to return later.
“Does the nation have no other talent that we must welcome Wu back to the position of vice president [of the Examination Yuan]?” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said.
DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the public should be given credible reasons for Wu’s nomination.
Huang Wei-cher said he hoped Chao’s nomination was not politically motivated, adding that her stance on national policy during her tenure as a legislator and her published works were all heavily focused on education and raised questions over her suitability for a position in the Examination Yuan.
The National Policy Foundation’s Education and Cultural Division convener, Lee Chien-sing (李建興), said that nominees should propose substantial and well-thought ideas on the Examination Yuan’s role in national politics.
Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌), an Academia Sinica assistant research fellow of law, said the government should carefully consider amending the outdated Organic Law of the Examination Yuan (考試院組織法), adding that having 19 Examination Yuan ministers without portfolio was more than necessary.
A minister without portfolio in the Examination Yuan has always been considered a post that “pays well with not much to do and very little responsibility,” Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) said, adding that the terms for members should be cut from six to four years.
Of the 19 members, there had been a period when the Examination Yuan was short of five members, which justified a discussion on the number of members, she added.
Kainan University executive vice president David Huang (黃適卓) said that in terms of functions, the Examination Yuan completely overlaps with the Cabinet’s Directorate-General of Personnel Administration.
Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) had envisioned the Examination Yuan in the Three Principles of the People to protect administrative officials, but in the present-day system, the appointment of administrative officials is still influenced by political powers, David Huang said, adding that the Examination Yuan does not need to exist and that there was no need to fill the minister without portfolio vacancies.