The China Post staff
Continued release of embarrassing economic data is prompting opposition lawmakers to exert pressure on Cabinet officials to take responsibility for the lackluster economic performance. Legislator Lee Cheng-chung, a leader of the Kuomintang legislative caucus, said yesterday that Taiwan’s record high unemployment rate of 4.22 percent for May, shows that the DPP government has not been able to come up with sensible and comprehensive policies to guide the nation’s economic development. He said that the KMT legislative caucus demands the Cabinet take full responsibility. He also singled out three senior officials — Chairman Chen Po-chi of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, Economics Minister Lin Hsin-yi and Finance Minister Yen Ching-chang — who should resign because of their failure to handle the portfolios of economics and finance. After ruling the nation for more than one full year, Lee said, the DPP government presents the people with the highest ever jobless rate, which will surely climb higher in the following months as graduates flock to the job market. Please see CRISIS on page
Lee said the increasingly worrisome situation proves that a government full of top officials trained as lawyers is unable to prepare sound economic and industrial policies for healthy national development. He pointed out that Chairman Chen of the CEPD had said earlier that he would step down if the jobless rate in Taiwan climbed over three percent. But Chen did not resign when the figure hit three percent.
Lee also said Minister Lin and Minister Yen should resign and give way to a new team of officials who might have a slim chance of reviving the economy. Liao Wan-ju, another KMT lawmaker, said the government should adopt a complete set of industrial development policies to provide more jobs in stead of relying on paying out unemployment relief. The KMT’s legislative caucus made public a “new five-four movement” a couple of months earlier calling for Premier Chang Chun-hsiung and his key Cabinet members to step down should the weighted stock index drop under 5,000 and the unemployment rate rises over four percent. The stock price index lost another 80 points falling to 4904 points yesterday. When approached by reporters, Premier Chang made a deep sigh about the record unemployment rate for May. He said the Cabinet’s CEPD and the Council of Labor Affairs have already adopted countermeasures and the government would exert all efforts to create more job opportunities. Chang said he has instructed all government agencies to allocate three percent of their general affairs budget for the purpose of creating new jobs. He added that a human resources Web site has 50,000 jobs available while the government’s vocational assistance centers islandwide have an equal number of vacancies. He also appealed to all job seekers to take up a job first — although it might be a satisfactory one — and then search for a better one later on.