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Officials must focus on public interest: Jiang

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah yesterday called for Cabinet members to focus more on the public interest rather than preventing fraud during their administration process, according to Cabinet spokesperson Cheng Li-wen.

Jiang issued the call during a closed-door Cabinet seminar held yesterday morning at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At a postseminar conference, Cheng cited Jiang as saying that Cabinet ministers should formulate their administration policies from the angle of benefiting the public, lest they become too conservative as a result of preventing fraud in the administrative process.

According to Cheng, Jiang instructed Cabinet members to first report their major administration policies to him or President Ma Ying-jeou, and won't put policies into practice until after consensus is reached.

Furthermore, the premier encouraged Cabinet officials to listen to the grassroots and conduct opinion polls regarding major issues and policies to ensure they develop concrete and feasible policies, Cheng said.

Jiang also asked Cabinet members to actively communicate with internal staff in their ministries, as well as other lawmakers, scholars, experts, political commentators, news media representatives and local civic groups to seek their understanding over and support for major administration policies.

The premier said various government agencies should ready and publicize their goals effectively.

Jiang also took the opportunity to reiterate his general administrative concept which is building a wealthy, polite and democratic society in Taiwan.

At yesterday's seminar, some members suggested that the Cabinet should set up a mechanism which can function as a think tank for the central government.

For instance, Cyrus C.Y. Chu, minister of the National Science Council, said the nation's energy and scientific developments are facing significant challenges, but government agencies are busy with current administration issues and have little time to consider measures against future problems. Accordingly, Chu stressed, it's imperative for the central government to establish a proper mechanism to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Minister Paelabang denapan of the Council of Indigenous Peoples said many global forward-looking concepts fail to be applied at the administrative level, and a think tank can serve as a bridge between such ideas and the administration.

In addition, Tsai Chuen-horng, chairman of the Atomic Energy Council, said people are questioning the safety of nuclear power and ponder appropriate electricity costs, noting that the government has been unable to provide information to resolve any doubts, something which a long-term policy study by a government think tank may be able to provide.

In response, Premier Jiang said the Cabinet can initially invite experts to deliver keynote speeches on a quarterly basis and preside over brainstorming sessions among Cabinet members.

In related news, the ruling Kuomintang will hold a coordination meeting today between the legislative and administrative branches over how to carry out reforms to the civil servant retirement annuity system and ensure a bill to increase the 4th nuclear power plant's budget clears the legislature as soon as possible.

President Ma Ying-jeou will attend the meeting in his capacity as the chairman of the ruling party. Premier Jiang, related Cabinet ministers, and lawmakers of the KMT will also participate.

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