Cabinet denies reshuffle reports

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 3

The Executive Yuan yesterday dismissed a report about a planned Cabinet reshuffle involving five ministers, including Minister of Labor Lin Mei-chu (林美珠) and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維).

The Chinese-language Apple Daily reported that the government was considering removing Lee, Minister of Finance Sheu Yu-jer (許虞哲), Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) and Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) ahead of the Lunar New Year, adding that Lin would resign following the passage of draft amendments to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法).

Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) dismissed the report, saying that he has not received any information pertaining to the report and the administration was not planning any Cabinet reshuffle.

Rumors about Lee’s possible dismissal quickly spread after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month botched the nation’s new biometric passports by mistakenly printing 550,000 copies bearing an image of Washington Dulles International Airport instead of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Lee and Sheu, who were able to keep their Cabinet posts when Premier William Lai (賴清德) in September last year replaced former premier Lin Chuan (林全), have been criticized by pro-Taiwanese independence advocates for their pan-blue camp bent and their age.

Pan would be replaced due to his unfamiliarity with the sports sector, resulting in passivity in reforming sports associations, which were criticized for monopolizing government funds and having the final say on athletes’ qualification, the report said.

The Cabinet is considering replacing Pan following alleged membership fraud and vote-rigging attempts by some sports associations ahead of a general association leadership election, it said.

Yeh was reportedly slated for replacement due to his inability to control the police force, and his failures in managing conscription and religious organizations.

Another report by the Chinese-language CM Media said that Lin Mei-chu opposed amending the “one fixed day off and one flexible rest day” workweek policy shortly after it was implemented in December 2016.

Her opposition was evident during her stint at Lin Chuan’s Cabinet, while she had to comply with Lai’s instruction to revise the policy following Lin Chuan’s resignation, the report said.

Lin Mei-chu reportedly told lawmakers that she would resign following the passage of draft amendments to the policy, which are scheduled for a final legislative review on Friday.

The Presidential Office also denied the reports yesterday.

The Cabinet has helped Taiwan recover from years of economic slowdown and delays in national development, and reports about the reshuffle were baseless misinformation, the office said.