Chen scolds bureaus over private lobbying
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The China Post--Premier Sean Chen spoke firmly about some bureaus privately lobbying lawmakers to gain advantages for themselves through the recent Cabinet restructuring at the weekly meeting yesterday, according to spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen.
January 11, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Chen said that restructuring the Cabinet was a large project that needed the cooperation of officials from all levels and that he would appreciate help and support from everyone. He remarked that there were principles that the Cabinet needed to follow in the restructuring, and bureaus should equally respect the adjustments.
Chen also commented that it was inappropriate for officials to persuade lawmakers under the table to seek advantages for themselves and that these sort of actions should be banned. He also told the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission to supervise each bureau's restructuring procedure, asking that they follow the Cabinet's decisions.
Given the rumors that the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) was involved in lawmaker lobbying in regard to being upgraded, Vice Premier Jian Yi-huah commented that it was essential for the CGA to make its actions clear to the public. According to Cheng, Jiang explained that, “If you remain silent amid media speculation, it will be the same as admitting to it, which would cause more chaos.”
The CGA later said that they were in full support of the Cabinet's version of the draft organizational structure and denied claims that there was any lobbying activity related to lawmakers.
Chen also spoke of constant speculation that some bureaus would increase the number of worker positions after the upgrade, hinting at the opportunity for an increased budget. Chen explained that the positions have actually decreased after the upgrades and mergers.
Using the Cabinet as an example, Chen said that after merging the Government Information Office, the Gender Equality Committee and the Consumer Protection Committee, total worker positions decreased by 9,683 while temporary worker positions decreased 165.
With the recent Cabinet restructuring, commissions and bureaus have disputed some downsizes and mergers. The CGA, the Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA) were all rumored to have private lobbying activities with lawmakers.
Disputes came from some bureaus wanting upgrades into Cabinet-level ministries while some bureaus refused to merge with units that have lesser benefits.
Year-end Banquets Canceled
In related news, the Presidential Office, the Cabinet, Examination Yuan and the Control Yuan have all announced they will cancel their year-end banquet in the face of Taiwan's economic situation. The Presidential Office expressed that Taiwan's economic condition was not suitable for government officials to throw a celebration, but President Ma will still extend gratitude to his employees.
The Cabinet also said that the government should cut down on its expenditures in light of the difficulties of Taiwan's finances.