Minister of the Interior Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻源) and other government officials yesterday dismissed speculation about a possible Cabinet reshuffle, saying that focusing on their current duties should take priority this year.
Lee was rumored to be set to be replaced in a partial reshuffle, after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) appeared to hint in a weekend interview at a possible reshuffle before the Lunar New Year holidays.
While attending the flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office, Lee was low-key on the issue.
“Speculation is speculation, and it is more important to do our jobs. Happy New Year to all, and we should continue to work hard,” he said.
Jiang was reportedly dissatisfied with Lee over his lenient approach to tackling unlicensed lodgings in Nantou County’s Cingjing (清境).
Other Cabinet members rumored to be up for replacement included Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏), Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達).
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday declined to comment on the issue as he led top government officials to attend the ceremony.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) was also rumored to be joining the Cabinet in the reshuffle.
He yesterday declined to comment on what he called a “hypothetical question,” while giving his support for a Cabinet reshuffle.
“Premier Jiang has been working well with Ma, and it is quite appropriate for him to launch a reshuffle,” he said.
Hau also downplayed concerns about the latest reshuffle in the city government, as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) yesterday formally took over as the commissioner of the city’s Department of Social Affairs.
Hau said he invited Wang to serve as the commissioner because former commissioner Jiang Yi-wen (江綺雯) decided to leave to resume her teaching position at a university, and denied that the reshuffle aimed to help pave the way for former Taipei EasyCard Corp chairman Sean Lien’s (連勝文) campaign for next year’s Taipei mayoral election.
“The appointment was made in accordance with [Wang’s] expertise and skills,” he said.
Lien is the most competitive potential candidate to represent the KMT in the mayoral election, but he has declined to confirm his bid for the candidacy.