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September 26, 2017

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In speech, Premier lays out expectations for new Cabinet

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In a speech yesterday, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) laid out 25 guidelines for new members of the Cabinet following its sudden reshuffle in late February, emphasizing that the Cabinet will not tolerate tattletales.

Jiang called for the new Cabinet members to stay alert, saying that the Cabinet will have to demonstrate the spirit of teamwork and strengthen both internal and external communication. The premier noted that members should remember that no one is to make public announcements unless they have received authorization and that discipline was not to be overlooked. Major policies are to be reported to himself or the president and implemented only after approval, Jiang added.

Following the most recent personnel adjustments, Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) will take Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan's (李鴻源) position, Minister without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) will become the first minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), and New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Lee Shu-chuan (李四川) will be promoted to secretary-general of the Executive Yuan. According to Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群), both Environmental Protection Administration Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏) and Minister without Portfolio Schive Chi (薛琦) resigned voluntarily.

Jiang said that the Cabinet should be aware of what the people are concerned about and conduct public surveys before launching major policies, adding that in addition, post-launch surveys should be carried out if necessary.

In response to media inquiries, Sun stressed that none of the premier's words were made in reference to the anti-nuclear parade held on Saturday, but were intended to allow the government's administrative teams to explain public misunderstandings. "Take the cross-strait service trade pact, for example. Over half of the people surveyed were against it at first, but the approval rates have hiked after our many explanations," said Sun.

A Call to Communicate

Jiang's speech reportedly lasted for an hour, with the Premier stressing that the Cabinet was to do its best to communicate with fellow government officials, media outlets and the public.

The interaction between the Cabinet and the Legislature should be improved, said Jiang, who stated that Cabinet members are to return the calls of lawmakers within 24 hours and to carry out promises made to the latter, all out of "politeness."

Following Jiang's admonishments, two government ministers said that they lacked smooth communication skills. Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) and National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管仲閔) admitted that they were unskilled at talking to the media.

Yeh was seen by many to be the main force behind Taiwan High Speed Rail Chairman Ou Chin-der's (歐晉德) resignation when he hinted that Ou should take responsibility for the company's many mistakes.

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