Wed, Jan 02, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Academics ask ministry to annul Kuan appointment

LEGAL BASIS:The group said the Administrative Procedure Act allows authorities to revoke an earlier injunction within their jurisdiction that is found to be illegal

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Former minister of education Yeh Jiunn-rong bows to thank Ministry of Education staff at a farewell party for him on Wednesday last week.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

A group of academics yesterday launched a petition to request that the Ministry of Education revoke its decision to appoint National Taiwan University (NTU) professor Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) as the university’s president.

Among the academics were Academia Sinica academicians Chen Lan-bo (陳良博) and Chou Chang-hung (周昌弘), NTU professor Jang Show-ling (鄭秀玲), NTU professor emeritus Ho De-fen (賀德芬), NTU adjunct professor Chang Ching-hsi (張清溪) and Taiwan Association of University Professors president Lin Hsiu-hsin (林秀幸).

Although the Executive Yuan said that it cannot revoke the ministry’s decision to appoint Kuan, there are “valid legal means” to do so, they said in a joint statement.

Kuan was elected NTU president on Jan. 5 last year and was originally scheduled to take office the next month, but the ministry in May demanded a re-election on the grounds that Kuan failed to disclose a possible conflict of interest in the election, as he served as an independent director at Taiwan Mobile Co and company vice president Richard Tsai (蔡明興) sat on the election committee.

Former minister of education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮), who took office in July, initially instructed the university to redo parts of the election without Tsai to correct what he called a “procedural flaw” in the process.

However, after the university repeatedly refused, citing a lack of legal basis, Yeh on Monday last week announced that he would “reluctantly agree” to Kuan’s appointment and ordered the university to submit a report reviewing the controversies that arose during the presidential election.

He tendered his resignation the following day after the decision drew a backlash.

Yeh’s announcement came just two days before the Executive Yuan rejected three administrative appeals filed by the university, Kuan and a group of NTU students requesting that Kuan be appointed based on their interpretation of the law.

Yeh must have known that the Executive Yuan would reject the appeals and decided to appoint Kuan in advance without the approval of Premier William Lai (賴清德), the academics said yesterday.

While Yeh’s behavior was “extremely ridiculous,” what they found “most regrettable” was the Executive Yuan’s claim that Kuan’s appointment cannot be revoked, they said.

Article 117 of the Administrative Procedure Act (行政程序法) stipulates that government agencies and their superior authorities can revoke a previously issued administrative injunction that is found to be illegal and falls within their jurisdiction, they added.

As an NTU presidential candidate has filed an administrative appeal against the Executive Yuan over Kuan’s appointment, the ministry should review whether its decision to appoint him is legal, as stipulated in Paragraph 2, Article 58 of the Administrative Appeal Act (訴願法), and revoke the decision, the academics said, referring to an administrative appeal filed by NTU professor Wu Ruey-beei (吳瑞北) on Friday last week.

Meanwhile, Yeh has contravened the Public Functionary Service Act (公務員服務法), which bans civil servants from contradicting a superior’s instructions that fall within their jurisdiction and promoting the personal interests of themselves or others by abusing their position, they said.

By “debunking the government’s lies” about the appointment being irreversible, the academics said that they hope more people would join their call to revoke Kuan’s appointment before he takes office on Tuesday next week.

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