President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he expected the new Cabinet, led by premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), to be fully prepared to face new challenges ahead of its official swearing-in on Feb. 18.
As the nation celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday, Ma said the new Cabinet should continue efforts to address major issues and to boost the economy.
“The [Lunar] New Year holiday is not a period for the new Cabinet to relax. We’ve seen signs of an economic recovery, and it is important that we take the occasion to boost the economy further,” he said.
He dismissed concerns about a lack of experts on finance and economics in the new Cabinet and said former premier Sean Chen (陳冲) had helped stabilize the economy after the global financial tsunami and laid a solid foundation for the new Cabinet to ensure continued growth this year.
As an annual family tradition, Ma accompanied his 93-year-old mother, Chin Hou-hsiu (秦厚修), to the market one day before Lunar New Year’s Eve. They spent NT$3,720 on buying pork, chicken, fruit, vegetables, dumplings, cooked food and flowers at Xinglong Market, near his mother’s residence in Wenshan District (文山), Taipei.
Holding his mother’s hand, Ma offered New Year greetings and handed out red envelopes to vendors and shoppers at the market.
Ma said he did not think prices had increased much compared with last year, while his mother shrugged off growing public discontent with the president.
“Criticisms will help him improve,” she said.
Ma said he cherished the quality time with his mother before the holiday starts, and added that the home-cooked Lunar New Year’s Eve dishes would give him energy to work for the nation in the coming year.
The president later visited Eden Social Welfare Foundation’s training center for people with disabilities in Wenshan to make a donation ahead of the holiday.
While spending time with members at the center, Ma called on the public to contribute to a fund for specially designed public minibuses that help transport people with disabilities, saying it was a practical way of helping people.
The “Fu-Kang Buses” cost about NT$1 million each. Increasing the number of such buses as part of an effort to create a friendlier environment for the disabled was a major policy touted by Ma when he served as Taipei mayor.
There are 260 Fu-Kang buses in Taipei, 270 in New Taipei City (新北市) and 217 in Greater Taichung. Ma said the nation has enough ambulances, and encouraged people who want to make donations to spend their money on Fu-Kang buses.