President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday defended Premier Sean Chen’s (陳冲) performance as he dismissed speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle at the end of this year.
The Presidential Office and the legislative branch will work closely with the Cabinet to revive the economy, he added.
“I am fully supportive of Premier Chen and the Cabinet, and I expect him to lead the administrative team to boost the economy. We believe that Taiwan will move towards full economic recovery step by step,” he said at a luncheon organized by the Third Wednesday Club, a major business community in Taiwan.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, reiterated his support for Chen later yesterday when he presided over a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting and insisted that economic figures last month showed that export growth has reached 10.4 percent while the government continued to combat the financial crisis.
“We need to work very hard to boost the economy because the overall environment is in a bad shape, but we remain positive about the nation’s economic growth,” he said.
It has been speculated that Chen has been placed on probation for a period of one to three months after he survived a no-confidence vote last month, contingent on the Cabinet’s performance in addressing the nation’s economic woes.
Ma yesterday called on the KMT caucus to cooperate closely with the Cabinet to implement government policies with greater efficiency and said the administrative branch would present its economic development achievements soon.
“Premier Chen and the Cabinet are sparing no efforts to promote economic development … The legislative branch should better communicate with the administrative branch, so that government policies can be implemented more efficiently,” he said.
Separately yesterday, Chen, in an interview with UFO Network Radio, said he interacts well with Ma, although they do not always hold the same views on policies and appointments of Cabinet personnel.
Chen said he meets with Ma two or three times a week to exchange views on various issues about which they are both concerned.
Chen said he is a person of decency and integrity, adding that Ma, whom he has known since college, has the same personality.
He said he found some news reports regarding his relationship with Ma “unbelievable,” adding that some media just “make up a story” and then seek comments critical of the government based on their own “groundless speculation.”
In response to criticisms that Ma has imposed his views on Chen regarding the Cabinet’s policies and appointment of Cabinet members, Chen said he found it natural that he discusses lots of issues with Ma.
As a president, Ma has his overarching plan for governance of the country, Chen said, adding that consultation reduces the chances of making mistakes.
Chen added that his family has been supportive of him, revealing that he once happened to hear from a friend of his wife that his work situation at a certain point reduced his wife to tears, without his knowledge.
“She knows that it will weigh heavily on me if I find her in tears. I really appreciate that,” Chen said.