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Minister responds to Jiang-CPA speculation

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday said that he did exchange opinions with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) regarding possible candidates for director-general of the Construction and Planning Agency (CPA), but noted, however, that it was not a substantive discussion over the issue.

Lee's remark came after local media outlets reported that Lee had rejected Jiang's recommendation of the position of CPA director-general, with the reports also centering on a recent rumor that Lee and Jiang hold grudges against each other.

When asked if Jiang had recommended any candidates to him, instead of offering a direct answer, Lee said after the previous CPA Director-General Yeh Shi-wen (葉世文) retired, he had briefly talked about the issue with Jiang. “It is normal to discuss the issue,” he said.

Lee recently commented that the issue of land over-utilization at Cingjing Farm (清境農場) is a political issue, and Jiang on the following day said during a Cabinet meeting that not every issue involves politics.

A few days later, during an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan, when asked by legislators about Taoyuan County's public housing scheme, Lee said the issue is complicated, and the policy did need to be adjusted. The policy was carried out while Premier Jiang was serving as minister of the interior. Lee's remark thus sparked speculation about possible conflict between him and the premier.

In response, Lee said a policy requires review from time to time, and it does not matter who carried out the policy, or if the predecessor has the same opinion on the matter as the current one. The minister added that local media should not over-interpret the incident.

Speculation of Cabinet Reshuffle

Given that President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday night invited Jiang, as well as certain Cabinet members, to the Presidential Office to review the nation's economic progress in 2013, many local commentators speculated that Ma was reviewing the Cabinet's performance, and that the Cabinet might go through a personnel reshuffle in the near future.

Jiang yesterday was approached by reporters seeking an explanation of the speculation, but refused to comment.

Lee responded to the issue by saying that as long as he serves within the government, he will do his best to accomplish all tasks required of him.

Executive Yuan Secretary-General Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) said he has never heard of any possible Cabinet reshuffle.

Stephen Shen (沈世宏), minister of the Environmental Protection Administration, responded to the speculation by saying that “it is all anticipated, because we government officials are in a way all part-time workers ... these are not guaranteed lifetime positions.”

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Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) speaks to reporters at the Legislative Yuan, yesterday. Lee said he had briefly talked with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) about possible ...

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