The Control Yuan, the nation’s highest watchdog body, has censured the Executive Yuan and the National Palace Museum (NPM) for irregularities over the years.
The Control Yuan faulted the Executive Yuan for not clearly defining the role of the museum during its many structural reform plans over the years.
The Control Yuan also found that the intervention of political factors have resulted in frequent changes of the museum’s chief, which it said has also led to low staff morale, and that the museum has not been upgraded to maintain its competitive edge.
As of June, the museum had 679,855 items in its collection, but from 1989 until now, no complete inventory has been taken. Since 2001, the museum has conducted only irregular checks involving a few thousand items a year, which was “hardly enough,” the Control Yuan said.
The museum should make a complete inventory and publish the results, along with reports on the condition of the items, the Control Yuan said.
It also took to task what it described as a rash decision in 2001, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in power, to build a southern branch of the museum in Chiayi, resulting in contract disputes, a waste of taxpayers’ money and loss of faith for Chiayi residents in the government — after a decade, construction of the museum is still incomplete.
In 2008, during then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign, Ma pledged that the NT$7.9 billion (US$265.1 million) NPM Southern Branch would open by spring 2012 at the latest.
NPM officials, however, later admitted that the opening date for the main museum building would be pushed back at least another three years, to 2015, and the surrounding grounds would be delayed another five years, to 2017.