New premier demands efficiency from Cabinet members

2017/09/08 18:21:54 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Lai Ching-te (賴清德, center)

Lai Ching-te (賴清德, center)

Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) New Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) urged his Cabinet on Friday to hit the ground running because there is no time for a "honeymoon" or transitional period.

He wants Taiwan to move forward immediately on reform and transformation on the foundation established by his predecessor Lin Chuan (林全), Lai said.

Lai was speaking at his first Cabinet meeting after being sworn in as premier and attending the handover ceremony where he and his Cabinet officially took office.

"Government administration is a race against time," Lai said, noting that his only exhortation to his team was "we are a team" and need to coordinate together to demonstrate efficiency.

The new premier indicated that his Cabinet will focus on the policies outlined by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), including accelerating implementation of the 5+2 industrial transformation plan, the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Project and several other programs relating to long-term care and child care services.

Tsai has also asked Lai to continue his predecessor's efforts to improve labor safety and work conditions, while maintaining workforce flexibility in the industrial manufacturing sector during a period of economic transformation.

Lai said his Cabinet will honestly face the challenge of industrial transformation, removal of investment barriers, impact of the new work week, energy transformation and social crises such as the low birth rate and an aging population. Other issues of widespread concern include pension reform, tax reform and the judiciary.

During the Cabinet meeting, the new premier ordered the central government's general budget bill for 2018 withdrawn from the Legislative Yuan for review.

He instructed all ministries and departments to review their budget plans and revise them to ensure the elimination of unnecessary spending and waste.

Lai and his Cabinet were sworn in by President Tsai at the Presidential Office earlier in the day before the handover ceremony at the Executive Yuan.

Tsai said in a Facebook post that during the swearing-in ceremony, she shook hands with every Cabinet member, asking them to "fight for Taiwan with all their strength."

Members of Lai's Cabinet are mostly holdovers from the Cabinet of his predecessor.

A few faces did change, including Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp. Chairman Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) taking over as vice premier, ruling Democratic Progressive Party Deputy Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) as Cabinet secretary-general, and Cabinet Secretary-General Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) becoming head of the National Development Council (NDC).

The vacant position as economics minister was taken over by acting Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), while NDC adviser Lin Feng-jeng (林峯正) was appointed chair of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee.

Wellington Koo (顧立雄), former chairman of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, was sworn in as the head of the Financial Supervisory Commission.

(By Ku Chuan and Elizabeth Hsu)

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