A recent announcement by the Presidential Office that the former group of presidential advisers and policy consultants would largely be re-appointed has been greeted with mutters from the same advisers, who suggested that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not place enough emphasis on the functions of advisers and consultants.
Since being sworn in as president on May 20, 2008, Ma has in total approved three waves of presidential advisers and policy consultants. With the exception of the first wave, delayed until January 2009, the other two waves were announced before the consultants’ and advisers’ terms ran out.
However, the last group of presidential advisers and policy consultants were only in office until May 19, meaning that the positions have been vacant for nearly three months.
The Presidential Office said that internal notices have already been sent out to those who would be remaining in office as advisers and consultants and if there were no unexpected delays then the list would be publicly announced in the coming days.
Although the nearly 100 advisers and consultants will be mostly re-appointed, some said privately that Ma’s greatest flaw was the issue of personnel appointments.
He needs to expand the circle of people who decide policies and needs to be more active in taking advantage of the consultant and adviser system and ask for advice on policy implementation, they said.
Other consultants and advisers from central and southern Taiwan said they felt their positions were only honorary roles and had no practical function.
In the past year, the only events they went to as political policy consultants were the monthly briefings at the Presidential Office and events at the Martyr’s Temple, they said.
Ma would not normally ask for our advice and “our role in making suggestions on how national policy should be conducted is not effective,” they said.
Others said Ma only sat down with advisers a couple of times.