President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) second term would start with a minor Cabinet reshuffle, with National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶), Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君) and Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) leaving, a source with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.
Tsai and vice president-elect William Lai (賴清德) are to be inaugurated on Wednesday next week.
The three ministers have accomplished the missions they were assigned, and the reshuffle would not interrupt efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the government’s operations, the source said.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), who is at the helm of the government’s economic stimulus policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped to take over the National Development Council, they said.
Chen Liang-gee plans to return to teaching at National Taiwan University, where he used to be a chair professor, they said.
Cheng yesterday said on Facebook that she had decided to leave the Cabinet before the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, and had tendered her resignation to Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Jan. 16 because she wanted to spend more time with her son before he starts elementary school.
However, she decided to delay her departure after the COVID-19 outbreak began to worsen, because she was worried about the effect the outbreak might have on the nation’s arts and cultural sector, Cheng wrote.
Cheng took up the culture portfolio as part of former premier Lin Chuan’s (林全) Cabinet, and she said she had been reluctant to stay on when Su asked her to join his Cabinet in January last year.
However, she is glad she did and that she had the opportunity to push for many pieces of legislation that have helped promote the nation’s culture and the establishment of the National Human Rights Museum and the Taiwan Creative Content Agency, she wrote.
She said she was also proud of helping introducing the concept of “cultural governance” to the nation’s political culture.
Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) and Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) are staying on, despite recent controversies, the source said.
Hsu sparked an uproar in March when he reported National Police Agency Director-General Chen Jia-chin (陳家欽) to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office over alleged graft involving the agency’s staffing.
Su was not pleased by Hsu’s handling of the matter, but decided to keep Hsu in his because of his abilities, the source said.
Yen has come under criticism over the handling of an outbreak of COVID-19 on a ship that took part in the navy’s “Friendship Flotilla” mission to Palau.
Chen Liang-gee wrote on Facebook that he was grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve the nation for four years.
Technology is the foundation of a nation and the way to its prosperity, and he would continue dedicating himself to creating a quality and competitive research environment and incubator in the nation, he said.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
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