Outgoing premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday led his Cabinet to resign en masse, praising his Cabinet members for having built a solid foundation for the nation’s economic recovery amid global turbulence in the past year.
Later yesterday, the Presidential Office said President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has signed off on the resignation paper, which immediately placed Chen’s Cabinet into a caretaker mode until designate-premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) is sworn in on Feb. 18.
Chen yesterday said his Cabinet members have managed to stabilize the economy affected by the global financial tsunami and EU debt crisis, leaving Jiang’s Cabinet a solid foundation for growth this year.
Over the past year, the aggregate value of the TAIEX, which closed on Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holiday, registered growth of 10 percent, or NT$2.34 trillion (US$79.04billion), an increase of NT$250,000 in the value of shares for each stock-market player, he said.
Along with the performance of the stock market, the purchasing managers’ indices compiled over the months also pointed to steady growth in manufacturing activities, he said.
“The economic indicators show that our efforts have borne fruit,” Chen said.
Chen took premiership a year ago and resigned last month for health reasons.
According to Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文), after Chen delivered his farewell address, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) drew on a quote from Thirteen Reasons Why, a novel written by Jay Asher, and encouraged Chen to “press play.”
“Minister Lung told Premier Chen that life is like a tape in a radio. You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only thing you can do is to press play,” Cheng said.
Chen said that his radio has four buttons — stop, rewind, play and pause — and now he needs to press the “pause” button to improve his health.
Meanwhile, Ma, in an interview with the Taiwan Television (TTV) yesterday, defended the latest Cabinet reshuffle and said the government should cultivate different talents to serve the nation, while dismissing concerns about the limited talent pool in his administration.
Ma described the Cabinet reshuffle as a basketball game with players taking turns to play in the field, and said the government should provide a stage for different talents to show their capabilities.
“The Cabinet reshuffle is like a basketball game, and there are different tempos in four quarters and different players. Even Jeremy Lin (林書豪) does not always play the entire game,” he said.
He dismissed criticism over the lack of diversity in the new Cabinet and said each Cabinet member has their own area of expertise.
“Of course the government would invite talents with different areas of expertise to join the Cabinet, but if we just find people who have little in common, it will be hard to integrate the team,” he said.
Ma defended his choice of Jiang as new premier as he brushed aside concerns about Jiang’s lack of political experience.
Jiang’s previous posts as the minister of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission and minister of the interior have provided him with more capabilities for policymaking, Ma said.
Separately yesterday, after Chen led his ministers in their resignation, former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that “Ma, rather than the embattled Cabinet, was the one who has to shoulder the blame for poor governance.”
Ma has been a president without core values and clear direction for the country, Tsai said, adding that the recent workers’ protest was Ma’s responsibility.
“We hope that he will finally understand that he was the root of all problems in this country and take the Lunar New Year holiday to think about how he is going to lead this country and what values he upholds,” Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Chris Wang