Sun, Aug 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Former CSC head says KMT politicized firm

Former China Steel Corp (CSC) chairman Lin Wen-yuan said in an interview with Tzou Jiing-wen, a staff reporter with the ‘Liberty Times’ (sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’), that it was the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that had brought politics into the CSC, adding that reforms to state-owned corporations and the prevention of further incidents, such the current case involving former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih, could only be completed when the government has divested from state-owned firms

Former China Steel Corp chairman Lin Wen-yuan gives an interview in Taipei on July 18.

Liberty Times: What are your thoughts on how Lin Yi-shih (林益世) meddled in China Steel’s contracts? Lin recently admitted to having accepted a NT$63 million (US$2.1 million) bribe in 2010 from a metal-recycling company owner to help the latter secure procurement contracts from CSC and its subsidiaries

Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵): The involvement of CSC in the recent scandal and controversy has dragged the name of the corporation through the mud. It is no wonder that the Labor Union at CSC is asking CSC chairman Tsou Juo-chi (鄒若齊) to step down if he can only write letters to company employees online and can not stand up and defend the honor and name of the company.

I do not believe Tsou would take money in return for favors and that was never the question; the question is, does he have what it takes to resist the pressure when the time comes?

Of course I was under pressure when I was in the same position, how could I not be? However, I turned them all away.

Take for example, the rumors that [during the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration] then-president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) father-in-law, Chao Yu-chu (趙玉柱), came and asked me for a favor, but I just said no and turned him away. He went and told his son, who then told his wife, Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤). Chen Hsing-yu then had a fight over the matter with her husband, which meant that then-first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) got involved.

When Wu invited me over for a talk, I told her it just would not float. Chao may have thought the corporation would not lose anything because it would be selling to him for the same price it sells to others — and as long as the chairman approves of it, what harm is there? However, the corporation’s clients are all long-term clients, so in terms of moral responsibility and integrity, how can I give materials to others when I am scrambling to supply my clients?

Chang Chia-juch (張家祝), the corporation chairman appointed by then-premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) after the KMT took power in 2008, also dealt with the pressure instead of collapsing under it.

Chang is a scholar, someone who plays by the rules, and he did not “cooperate” with the political practices of the KMT and was thrown out; ask anyone in the company, they all know what happened.

Nobody shows up on the day of an annual general meeting and says they are quitting; it is like slapping the shareholders in the face, but Chang did and he decided to quit, because he had been told he was being thrown out.

That is not the case with Tsou. While the public is not clear about how the money was handled in the Lin corruption case, it is clear that, given Lin’s former position of power [as a lawmaker and the KMT’s policy committee director], Tsou would not deny him anything because [Tsou] is too political and could not deal with the pressure.

Some say it was the DPP who brought politics into the CSC after they came to power in 2000, but it is actually the other way around.

LT: What role do state-owned corporations like CSC play in elections?

Lin: After Chang was named chairman of the corporation, he once asked in a meeting “Did Lin Wen-yuan ask anyone to raise money for political donations?” One of the vice presidents in response said: “Lin never asked us to do anything that was political.”

From this example, I can guarantee that I never raised a penny in terms of political donations from the employees of the corporation, nor have I raised political donations from the corporation’s clients.

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