Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On Ma Ying-jeou's Second Wave of Cabinet Appointments

On Ma Ying-jeou's Second Wave of Cabinet Appointments
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, China)
A Translation
April 29, 2008

The Ma administration has arrived. The Liu cabinet has announced its second wave of cabinet appointments. As we examine the roster for the new cabinet, we notice several characteristics: Plenty of PhDs. Plenty of school principals. Plenty of women. A record high number of women. Ma has unquestionably come through on his pledge to form a cabinet consisting of one-fourth women. His financial and economics consultants are old hands who can ensure a running start. Legislators, county magistrates, and mayors have not been appointed, in keeping with his promise to the voters. But these are all surface matters. More importantly, Ma Ying-jeou has revealed his political character. For certain positions, including several plagued by controversy over the past eight years, he made several risky appointments. How they will turn out remains to be seen.

Many people see Ma Ying-jeou as a moderate. But based on his cabinet appointments, it is obvious this "model student" has a rebellious side. During his first term as Taipei mayor, he appointed people who had constantly engaged in street protests. He appointed a labour movement leader head of the Bureau of Labour, an incendiary social critic head of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and a young student movement leader head of the Bureau of Civil Affairs. This time around Ma Ying-jeou has appointed public service lawyers who fought the government on behalf of the underprivileged. He appointed Wang Ching-feng, who went fought public prosecutors and police investigators over the 3/19 Shooting Incident, as Minister of Justice. By appointing all these social activists he is effectively colliding with the system, head on. Wang Ju-hsuan, who has no love for the KMT, has been appointed Chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs. Even Wang herself is probably wondering whether Ma wasn't crazy to give her the nod.

He has also appointed little-known leaders of parents groups and educational reform groups to his cabinet. The former president of National Chengchi University Cheng Jiu-Chen has been appointed Minister of Education. Chen Jiu-cheng is low-keyed by nature. He was labeled pro-Green because he wanted to eliminate partisan school songs. In fact he was merely a liberal academic. During the authoritarian era he traveled in "party outsider" political circles only because National Chengchi University disseminated his liberal concepts. During the DPP era he did not travel in official circles, nor did he participate in the Ministry of Education's noisy campaigns. He confined his commentary to civic fora in the capacity of a scholar. Cheng Jui-chen must familiarize himself with primary and secondary educational practices, and find practical solutions to controversial educational reform problems that have arisen over the past few years.

His second wave of cabinet appointments was even more radical. Ma Ying-jeou unexpectedly appointed Taiwan Solidarity Union legislator Lai Hsing-yuan Chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, taking future premier Liu Chao-hsuan totally by surprise. Lai Hsing-yuan is a disciple of former President Lee Teng-hui. She was his aide when the KMT was still in office. For the past eight years the Taiwan Solidarity Union's cross-strait policy has been at loggerheads with the KMT's. Ma Ying-jeou was elected because a clear majority support and anticipate the opening of cross-straits exchanges. Lai Hsing-yuan says she shares Ma Ying-jeou's views. She says she agrees with "One China, Different Interpretations." She says she supports "No Reunification, No Independence, and No War." But her differences with Ma are far from trivial. After all, even Chen Shui-bian is nominally in agreement with Ma and Lai. Chen Shui-bian opposed the 1992 Consensus but did not oppose One China, Different Interpretations. Chen Shui-bian dug in his heels, ostensibly because Beijing wasn't allowing Taipei to have its own interpretation. The result was eight years of standoff and stagnation,

If Lai Hsing-yuan takes office, she will be required to resume cross-strait talks in June, and begin weekend direct charter flights in July. Is she really on the same page as Ma Ying-jeou? She blasted the KMT for helping fruit farmers sell their produce to the mainland. How does she feel about the Council of Agriculture completely changing its tune and subsidizing the sale of fruits from eight counties and cities to the mainland? Will she stay the course? Will she expand its scope? Even more importantly, the heart of the Ma administration's effort to boost Taiwan's economy is cross-strait policy. The Mainland Affairs Council is responsible for the liberalization of cross-strait policy, which impacts upon the Central Bank, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Council of Agriculture, even the Sports Commission. If Lai Hsing-yuan disagrees with administration policy, how will the Ma administration respond? If Lai Hsing-yuan agrees, how will she deal with the negative response from her former colleagues in the Legislative Yuan?

Ma Ying-jeou recruited Lai from the Taiwan Solidarity Union to create a greater consensus, to accommodate the feelings of the 5 million voters who didn't vote for him. This is laudable. But he must not forget the over 7 million voters who expect his administration to implement sound policies enabling Taiwan to return to normal as soon as possible. The new cabinet has many positions suitable for Lai Hsing-yuan. Why must she head the Mainland Affairs Council? Ma Ying-jeou made a risky appointment. We can only hope that he understands those risks. He must not force society to pay the price for unsuitable cabinet appointments. The new cabinet already has many positions whose sole purpose is to provide jobs for party cadres. Hopefully the new Premier will be an Premier for all the people, and not just a Premier for the ruling party,

The Government is supposed to serve the people. Its work is never done. The Chen Shui-bian regime filled government posts based on political considerations, and forced the entire nation to suffer the consequences. Once Ma's new cabinet appointments are complete, we are willing to give it our blessing. But we hope that the newly-appointed Premier will understand our concerns and consider the welfare of all the people, and that it will set aside politics and focus on policy.

中國時報  2008.04.29

  馬政府到位!劉內閣二波人事公布,綜觀新閣名單,有幾個特色:博士多、校長多、女性更是創下歷史新高的多,完全達到馬英九選前、選後希望女性佔內閣四分之 一的宣示;財經小內閣則由老臣壓陣,確保立刻上手;立委與縣市長都未入閣,兌現重視選民的承諾。不過,這些特點都還是浮面的,更深沉的是,馬英九嶄露了他 的政治性格,在特定部會、尤其是過去八年爭議性大的部會,祭出險招,其成與敗格外值得觀察。

 很多人認為馬英九素性溫和,但從他的用人, 不難看出這位政壇「模範生」骨子裡,藏都藏不了的叛逆性。就像他首任台北市長任內,找了專在街頭搞抗爭的工運人士出任勞工局長、寫文章火辣辣批判社會政治 現象的作家出任文化局長、還找一個年輕的學運分子出任民政局長。這一回,馬英九起用律師出身、為弱勢發聲槓上政府、為調查三一九案槓上檢警調的王清峰出任 法務部長,直接撞擊這個封閉系統;同樣是律師,活躍於社會團體,卻對國民黨沒太多好感的王如玄出任勞委會主委,連王如玄都懷疑自己會點頭是不是「瘋了」?

  此外,還有家長團體、教改團體其實都不大認識的前政大校長鄭瑞城出任教育部長,鄭瑞城生性低調,因為他要改掉「黨校」的校歌,被校內部分人士標籤化為「親 綠」。但實際上,他只是一個單純的自由派學者,威權時代沒見他奔走於政治圈為黨外發言,只在政大傳遞他的自由派理念;民進黨時代他也沒汲汲於官場,或大聲 疾呼和爭議百出的教育部吵架,他還是以學者身分在民間論壇提出諍言。鄭瑞城的挑戰,除了他必須盡快熟悉中小學教育的實務外,就是怎麼在制度面上讓過去幾年 的教改爭議獲得合理解決。

 更大膽的不止於此,第二波人事公布,馬英九出人意表地找上前台聯不分區立委賴幸媛出任陸委會主委,第一時間讓 準閣揆劉兆玄都感錯愕。賴幸媛系出前總統李登輝門下,國民黨執政時期就是李幕僚,但無可諱言,過去八年來,台聯的兩岸政策確實與國民黨格格不入,馬英九當 選很大部分原因在於支持者對兩岸開放有期待,賴幸媛固然聲稱和馬英九的理念相同,也同意「一中各表」,都主張不統不獨不武以台灣利益為上,但在這個大原則 大方向下,可討論的就多了。馬、賴的共識又何嘗不是扁的主張呢?扁所反對的是「九二共識」,可沒反對「一中各表」,陳水扁堅持的是因為對岸不讓我們自己表 述,就這麼吵八年,兩岸關係停滯不前。

 賴幸媛上任後,立即要面對六月兩會復談、七月周末包機直航,她是否全盤接受?她曾經嚴詞痛批國民 黨協助農民水果登陸,面對農委會已經改弦更張要公款補助八縣市水果登陸,是否繼續或擴大辦理?更重要的,馬政府提振台灣經濟的核心,就是兩岸政策,陸委會 是各項開放措施主管機關包括:中央銀行、交通部、財政部、經濟部、農委會、金管會、甚至體委會能否開放的關鍵,如果賴幸媛有不同見解,馬政府該如何自處? 如果賴幸媛沒有不同見解,她個人赴立法院備詢,面對舊日同僚的朝野立委們冷嘲熱諷,又該如何自處?

 馬英九向台聯借將,為凝聚更大的社會 共識,照顧其他五百多萬票民眾的感情,確實值得肯定,但不要忘了,七百多萬選票期待馬政府的是「政策考量」,讓台灣在最短時間內重新上路,新閣有多少職務 都適合賴幸媛,何以非要她出掌陸委會?馬英九既出險招,只能期望馬政府做好風險管控,不要讓社會再為一個不適合的人事安排而付出代價。就像新內閣中仍有擺 明為了疏散黨工幹部的職務,但盼新任首長到位後,調整心態,扮演好稱職的全民首長,而非一黨之首長。


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