Premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) announced 17 more members of his Cabinet yesterday, including five women, many of whom are familiar faces from the last Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration.
Liu told a press conference that integrity and competence were the most important criteria he used when deciding Cabinet personnel.
“People have great expectations of us. We have to rely on experienced officials [in the new administration] because there is no room for new Cabinet officials to take time to learn how to handle administrative affairs,” Liu said.
PHOTO: WALLY SANTANA, AP
Former finance minister Paul Chiu (邱正雄) was named vice premier while former National Science Council vice chairman Hsueh Hsiang-chuan (薛香川) will become secretary-general of the Executive Yuan.
Chu Yun-peng (朱雲鵬), director of National Central University’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, and Tsai Hsun-hsiung (蔡勳雄), chief executive officer of the KMT’s think tank, were both chosen as ministers without portfolio.
Director of the KMT’s Organization and Development Committee Liao Fung-te (廖風德) will take charge of the Ministry of the Interior, as expected.
Ambassador to Guatemala Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) will head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while former vice economic minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) will return as minister of economic affairs.
National Taiwan University (NTU) economics professor Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) will become head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.
Former Chunghwa Telecom Co chairman Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) will take charge of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, while NTU Hospital superintendent Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁) will run the Department of Health.
Stephen Shen (沈世宏), director of Taipei City’s Bureau of Environmental Protection, will take over the Environmental Protection Administration, while former vice minister of the Council of Agriculture Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) will now head the council.
The five women include lawyer and convener of the 319 Shooting Truth Investigation Special Committee Wang Ching-feng (王清峰), who was given the Ministry of Justice portfolio; commissioner of Taipei City’s Budget, Accounting and Statistics Department Shih Su-mei (石素梅), who will take over the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics; former KMT legislator Wang Yu-ting (王昱婷), who will lead the National Youth Commission; and long-term women’s rights lawyer Jennifer Wang (王如玄), who will become minister of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).
Former KMT legislator Chang Jen-hsiang (章仁香), who is an Amis Aboriginal, who will take charge of the Council of Indigenous Peoples.
The rest of the Cabinet lineup will be announced by the end of this month, Liu said.
Liu said yesterday’s list of nominees was finalized after he, president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) discussed the candidates he had proposed.
However, Liu said Ma played the leading role in deciding the defense, foreign affairs and Mainland Affairs Council portfolios.
Chiu, who also attended the conference, said Ma’s administration would place emphasis on financial reform, adding that the incoming Cabinet should deliberate on how to broaden the scope of the reform while allowing market mechanisms to work.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) lauded the lineup, saying that it was important that the incoming government chiefs wouldn’t have to spend time learning how to deal with administrative affairs.
“Stability should come first,” Wang said.
KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) urged the public to support the incoming Cabinet, saying that they will shoulder responsibility and live up to expectations.
When asked for comment, Wang Ching-feng said her first priority would be to ensure clean politics.
Jennifer Wang said she decided to join the administration because she could show concern for minority groups as CLA minister, adding that she could feel a sense of responsibility on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Ma met Intel Corp executive vice president Sean Maloney to discuss the company’s plan to increase investment to develop the WiMAX system in Taiwan.
“The Ministry of Economic Affairs and local governments have been making efforts to establish an ‘M [mobile] Taiwan.’ Therefore, their [Intel’s] intended investment will be of great help to the expansion of the WiMAX system [in Taiwan],” Ma told reporters after the meeting.
Ma also met former premier Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村), saying that they had discussed principles on managing the military.
Ma declined to comment on the Cabinet lineup.
In a related matter, the president-elect is scheduled to gather opinions from heads of seven major technology corporations today, including Lite-On Group (光寶集團) chairman Song Kung-yuan (宋恭源), Acer Inc chairman Wang Jen-tang (王振堂) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) chairman Jonney Shih (施崇堂).
Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) yesterday said that he hoped to see the “old faces” of the incoming Cabinet come up with a new way of doing things.
“We will monitor their performance closely,” he said. “They should know how they lost power eight years ago and how they will lose power again if they did not learn their lesson.”
Hsieh made the remarks after visiting a school for the mentally challenged in Tienmu, Taipei City, yesterday afternoon.
When asked to comment on the appointment of Wang Ching-feng as justice minister, Hsieh declined to talk about individual Cabinet members, saying that he respected the decision of Ma and Liu, who he said should be fully responsible for the appointments.
Hsieh yesterday also said that he was not sure whether he would attend Ma’s inauguration on May 20 because he had not received the invitation.
“The answer would be positive if I got invited,” Hsieh said, adding that he might have to cancel an international meeting if he received the invitation.
DPP legislative caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) told a press conference yesterday that the announced Cabinet members represented the old KMT.
He said when new vice premier Chiu served as minister of finance in the 1990s, the nation’s bad debt ratio reached a historic high, and Chiu used national funds to finance lenders, which allowed major defaulters such as former Tuntex Group (東帝士集團) chairman Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) to embezzle from the nation’s coffers.
He said that during Chiu’s term of office between 1996 and 2000 the rate of overdue loans reached a high of 6.2 percent.
Lai said the DPP government had lowered the level of bad loans since it took power in 2000, but that bringing Chiu back was a cause for concern.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said the new Cabinet line up was “disappointing but expected.”
They are old members from Vincent Siew’s (蕭萬長) Cabinet, he said, naming Chiu, Mao, Yin and Tsai Hsun-hsiung.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) also criticized the line up, calling it “old wine in new bottles.”
Political scientist Yang Tai-shuen (楊泰順) of Taipei’s Chinese Culture University was more positive, saying the new ministers will be able to push forward trade liberalization with China, a complex task that will require revising numerous laws and decrees.
“They may be more conservative and less innovative, but they can execute economic policies without delay,” Yang said.
Business leaders yesterday said they expected the newly appointed Cabinet members to spare no time in bailing out the nation’s economy.
General Chamber of Commerce (全國商業總會) chairman Chang Ping-chao (張平沼) yesterday lauded the designated premier’s decision to appoint Chiu as vice premier, Yin as Minister of Economic Affairs and Chen Tain-jy to head the Council for Economic Planning and Development as “good choices.”
“Both Chiu and Yin are familiar with the government’s operations, and will be able to get on the right track in no time,” he said.
Chang also praised Chen Tain-ju as a pragmatic academic with forward-looking views toward the nation’s economic development, saying he is highly qualified for new task.
Roscher Lin (林秉彬), chairman of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (中小企業協會) agreed, saying the return of the nominees is expected to bring in a sense of stability and familiarity.
Lin, however, said that the business group expected the “old faces to have new ideas” since the global economic environment that Taiwan is facing is different from that of eight years ago when the KMT was last in power.
“They’ve got to introduce some changes, which people are looking forward to, despite the fact they have been government officials before,” he added.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AP
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