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September 26, 2017

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Economic heads to stay on in reshuffle

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the Ma administration aiming to boost Taiwan's economy this year, incumbent ministers in charge of the country's economic and financial policies will unlikely be replaced, according to a local report.

There has been wild speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle, a source was quoted by the United Evening News as saying. The unnamed source went on to say that the Executive Yuan has no plans to replace Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源), Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) or Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達).

The source said although a string of food safety incidents occurred last year, the Ma administration believes that the Ministry of Health and Welfare handled the cases properly, given that food safety in Taiwan has always been an issue.

Given that several drafts of organic laws for new governmental departments are still waiting in the Legislative Yuan, the Cabinet personnel readjustment will be different from what people have been speculating recently, the source added.

The interior minister told local media yesterday morning that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) did not contact him to discuss a Cabinet reshuffle during the Chinese New Year vacation, and that President Ma Ying-jeou has not discussed the matter with him either.

Lee said that he has, however, received a notice from National Taiwan University saying that his transfer is due in March.

"I am not as worried as others," the minister said.

A source in the Presidential Office confirmed that Economics Minister Chang Chia-juch (張家祝), who tendered his resignation in January, was persuaded by the president to stay on.

The source noted that Chang blamed himself for the lackluster GDP growth in 2013 and felt humiliated by opposition lawmakers who called him a "fool" during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan.

According to local commentators, people have been generally positive about Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Tseng Ming-chung (曾銘宗) and Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford's (張盛和) performances.

According to United Evening News, given that National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), previously in charge of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, assumed his new post in January, many have said that the Cabinet's economic and financial heads will not be changed.

The report claims that apart from the aforementioned ministers, both Ma and Jiang are very satisfied with Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji's (陳保基) performance; therefore, Chen will not be replaced either in the possible Cabinet reshuffle.

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