Concerned about president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan’s (劉兆玄) choice of former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) as Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairwoman, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged their leaders to give priority to the party “faithful” when making future Cabinet appointments.
Approached for comment, KMT caucus acting secretary-general Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) said the caucus did not oppose the Cabinet lineup Liu had made public so far.
“But we would like to remind them again that the KMT is full of talented people,” he said.
“Over the past eight years, these loyal KMT members worked hard to supervise the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) [government]. They also did their best to campaign for the KMT during legislative and presidential elections,” he said.
Hsieh said the caucus respected Ma’s authority to nominate Cabinet officials, but the reaction to Lai’s nomination was “unavoidable.”
Hsieh urged Lai to endorse Ma’s platform of commencing direct weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China on July 4 before she assumes office.
He also called on Lai to specify what supplementary measures she would propose if the cap on Taiwanese listed firms’ investment in China were to be lifted.
“If the two issues could be resolved, we would feel relieved [about Lai’s nomination],” he said.
Some KMT legislators expressed reservations about Ma’s choice of Lai as MAC head after Liu unveiled a second round of Cabinet appointees on Monday.
Some questioned whether having a pan-green MAC chairwoman would have a negative impact on cross-strait negotiations.
Ma defended his decision on Monday, saying that Lai’s appointment would help the incoming administration find common ground with the more than 5 million people who did not vote for him in last month’s election.
However, KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) said that Lai’s nomination had cast a cloud on cross-strait relations, adding that KMT members would have felt more “warmth” if Ma and Liu had had consulted them prior to “such an important appointment.”
In response to the criticism, Ma said he had appointed Lai to seek social consensus on cross-strait issues, urging the public to reserve judgment until they have seen Lai’s performance.
“Ms Lai has said that she agrees with my cross-strait stance. I think the public should give her a chance and not reject her before she has assumed the post,” Ma told reporters after attending an activity in Taipei County yesterday.
He also dismissed allegations that Lai was recommended by former president and TSU spiritual leader Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
“It was my decision to appoint Ms Lai and it did receive Mr Lee’s approval,” Ma said.
“But Mr Lee did not recommend Ms Lai to me,” he said.
After pushing for the development of cross-strait relations for more than 20 years, Ma said he realized that consensus was key to negotiating cross-strait issues.
“[Lai’s appointment] was my attempt to forge social consensus on cross-strait issues,” Ma said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH
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