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Gov't failed to analyze protests, talk with the public: ex-Minister Lee

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday during a radio interview commented on the recent social movements by saying that the governmental ministries failed to make professional analysis before creating policies and the executive branch failed to properly communicate with citizens.

Without professional analysis and effective communication, demonstrations are inevitable, Lee said.

Lee stepped down from his post in the Cabinet and returned to the world of academia at the end of February. He is now a professor at National Taiwan University.

During a radio talk show hosted by Clara Chou (周玉蔻) yesterday morning, Lee said the government has been “overly valuing” opinion polls while making policies, further explaining that the government even adjusted its original policies after watching political talk shows on several TV news channels.

Lee said a correct policy could not even “endure” the first few months and end up being distorted. He further questioned if the government wants to do the right thing or just wants to please the public.

“To some degree, I failed to do my job as well,” Lee said.

Lee on Nuke 4 Issue

Taking the recent controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant issue as an example, Lee said the key issue is not whether or not Taiwan wants Nuke 4, but rather what choices Taiwan has in terms of energy sources.

Lee further explained that the government should propose at least five different energy policies and then hold talks with both the opposition and civic organizations.

A referendum concerning the fate of Nuke 4 should include two to three energy solutions to be discussed with the aforementioned parties, Lee said, adding that holding a national conference on energy policy would not help if this fails to take place.

The former interior minister said that every country has think tanks to offer professional opinions for policy-making, noting that, however, Taiwan's think tanks are there only for elections.

Lee went on to say that the country's major policies should not be decided by social movements, stressing that the government should have its own professional opinions.

Lee on Public Hearing

Lee said that when he served as the interior minister he attended over 10 public hearings regarding the Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement. He said, however, he noticed that the public hearings failed to serve their purpose and offer a negotiation platform for supporters and opponents.

The public hearing offered opportunities for people to express their opinions; nevertheless, people could not find a balance between the polarizing voices, Lee said. The conclusions of the first public hearing and the hundredth are the same, he added.

Lee said that if he were still serving as the interior minister, then he would have expelled the students from the Legislative Yuan on the first day when they occupied the Assembly Hall to avoid creating more controversy afterwards.

During an interpellation at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) commented on Lee's remarks by saying that Lee's opinions were addressed to the government but not to him. Jiang added that he will humbly listen to all criticism.

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