Mon, Mar 21, 2016 - Page 3 News List

PROFILE: Lin Chuan: The ‘gentle’ yet ‘firm’ premier in waiting

Staff writer, with CNA

Lin Chuan (林全), the man who was on Tuesday last week named by president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to be premier in her incoming administration, started his career as an academic, but has since served in various key government posts, as well as in the corporate world.

Lin, 64, earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and taught in universities before serving in public office.

He is known for his famous motto: “Speaking of money, I have none; speaking of life, I have one,” which he used during his term as head of the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics between 2000 and 2002, when he pushed to adjust the allocation of the central government’s tax revenue.

Lin was described by legislators back then as someone who was “gentle, polite, yet stands firm.”

Under former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, there were frequent changes of the finance minister, but Lin served in the post for the longest period — from late 2002 to early 2006 — during which time he pushed for financial and tax reforms and established the minimum tax system.

A civic group, the Pan-Purple Coalition, called Lin the only finance minister who did not step down because of his push for reforms. However, Lin’s financial reforms were also controversial, mainly because of graft on the part of Chen, which was related to the merging of financial institutions.

In the corporate world, Lin served as board chairman of Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進) and is a member of the board of directors at TTY Biopharm Co (台灣東洋藥品) and Pharma Engine. He also serves as an independent member of the board of directors of Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技), Pegatron Corp (和碩) and Casetek Holdings Ltd (鎧勝).

In an appearance at a news conference with Tsai on Tuesday last week, Lin said that after Tsai won the Jan. 16 presidential election, he told her that his “career plan did not include a return to public office.”

However, Tsai has obviously persuaded him to change his mind. She also credits the premier-designate with good communication skills and knowledge about her ideals for running the nation.

Lin is chief executive officer of the New Frontier Foundation, a think tank chaired by Tsai, and played a major role in her presidential campaign.

Commenting on reports that his possible lineup of the Cabinet would be a return of Chen’s team, Lin said that “I wish the public would not label the incoming Cabinet as such.”

He said that the DPP has only governing experience under Chen, adding that the party, while in power, did nurture a lot of excellent people.

It would be “biased” if people thought that all those who served in Chen’s cabinet were bad, because he lost power after eight years.

Lin has two daughters from his first marriage, which ended quietly.

He married Wu Pei-ling (吳佩凌), one of his students at National Chengchi University and later his secretary, in 2002.

Wu, 19 years his junior, has been termed the “most unassuming wife of a government official” by the media.

In 2004, then-premier Yu Shyi-kun hosted a banquet for wives of then-cabinet members at his official residence, and Wu rode a bicycle to the party.

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