Wed, Mar 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker quizzes Lai about Kuan

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en speaks during a question-and-answer session in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The government has deliberately stalled the appointment of National Taiwan University president-elect Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) due to the influence of former Ministry of Education secretary-general Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) said yesterday.

During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Ko compared the Ministry of Education’s handling of Kuan’s election and that of National Yang-Ming University president Steve Kuo (郭旭崧), and said there appeared to a double-standard.

National Taiwan University’s election committee on Jan. 5 elected Kuan to succeed Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池), and he was scheduled to take office on Feb. 1, but the ministry has delayed confirming his appointment by asking the university to clarify issues regarding an alleged conflict of interest in the election process and an accusation of alleged plagiarism against Kuan.

Kuan allegedly did not tell the committee that he was an independent member of Taiwan Mobile’s board of directors, and Taiwan Mobile vice chairman Richard Tsai (蔡明興) is on the election committee.

Before Kuo was elected president of National Yang-Ming University, he was an independent director of SyneuRx and the director of the pharmaceutical company, Chang Hung-jen (張鴻仁), was the convener of that school’s election committee, Ko said.

While National Yang-Ming University was never required to address the alleged conflict of interest, the education ministry has continued to stall approving Kuan’s appointment even after National Taiwan University’s election committee met again to discuss the issue, she said.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) told Ko that the government was not deliberately delaying Kuan’s appointment, and that everything was being done according to regulations.

Ko asked if the ministry had really been following regulations.

“Article 9 of the University Act (大學法) does not give the ministry any power to veto or select a university president, but it has continued to try and block Kuan’s appointment” she said.

The ministry has decided to delay Kuan’s appointment because Chuang, “known as the underground ministry of education,” has insisted that it wait until National Taiwan University holds an extraordinary university council meeting to resolve controversy surrounding Kuan’s eligibility, she said.

Lai must properly investigate the situation, because “this is no longer a problem within the ministry,” she added.

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) told Ko that university council meetings are held by council representatives and cannot be manipulated.

The ministry has not handled Kuan’s case differently, he said.

Questions surrounding Kuan’s alleged conflict of interest and plagiarism are related to his eligibility to be a university president, so the ministry has the responsibility to clarify those issues before it can complete the appointment process, Pan added.

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