Ideology has no role in gov’t policies: Chen

The China Post staff

President Chen Shui-bian vowed that the nation’s finance and economic policies as well as the cross-strait policies will not be dictated by ideologies. He stressed the formulation of such policies will hinge purely on national interests, the trend of globalization, and benefits for enterprises. President Chen made the remark when receiving a group of young business executives at the Presidential Office yesterday. He also expressed thanks to the four major political parties and two non-partisan groups for their support to the economic development advisory committee to be established soon. He said that various political groups, which buried their differences of opinion, played a crucial role in ratifying the six bills related to financial reforms during the special session of the Legislative Yuan. Although the passage of these bills is not enough to put the battered economy back on the right track, Chen said, it set a rare example for ruling and opposition camps to jointly tackle national problems.

He thanked various political groups for the smooth organization of the economic development advisory committee. The first preparatory meeting of the organizing panel is set for Sunday.

He hopes that general consensus and concrete conclusions will result by late August. Lawmakers then may help put the proposals to work by revising relevant regulations when they start a new session in mid-September. Chen will personally chair the plenary sessions of the advisory body. Presidential Secretary General Yu Shyi-kun yesterday officially made public the list of 35 members on the organizing panel representing various political groups, government agencies, and academic institution. As convener of the panel, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung will chair the first preparatory meeting on Sunday. Five deputy conveners

The five deputy conveners of the organizing panel are representatives assigned by four major political parties plus one representative invited by the Presidential Office.

They are Legislator Yao Eng-chi, a sociologist by training and concurrently vice president of the Legislative Yuan, representing the opposition Kuomintang (KMT); Legislator Shen Fu-hsiung, a medical expert, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); Yu Tzong-shian, a noted economist and a member of the Academia Sinica who formerly served as president of Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, representing the People First Party (PFP); Legislator Lai Shyh-bao, a business management expert, representing the New Party; and Morris Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). Party representatives There are 12 representatives from the four political parties and two non-partisan groups, averaging two from each groups. They are: KMT: Chiang Chia-hsing, deputy executive officer of National Policy Research Foundation; Hsu Cheng-ming, member of the same foundation. DPP: Legislators Lin Feng-hsi and Tsai Huang-liang. PFP: Ying Nai-ping, a financial expert and professor at the Financial Institute of National Chengchi University; and Chang Hsien-yao, director of the PFP’s Policy Research Center. New Party: Fei Hung-tai, deputy speaker of Taipei City Council; and Lei Chien, vice chairwoman of an Internet-service company. Non-party alliance: Legislator Chen Chao-ming and Wang You-theng, head of the Rebar Group and honorary chairman of the ROC General Chamber of Commerce. Supra-party alliance: Legislators Yeh Hsien-hsiu and Huang Ming-ho. Government officials There are six officials from relevant government agencies: Lai In-jaw, vice premier; Yen Ching-chang, finance minister; Lin Hsin-i, economics minister; Perng Fai-nan, governor of the Central Bank of China; Lin Chuan, head of the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting & Statistics; and Chen Chun, chairwoman of the Council of Labor Affairs. Presidential appointees President Chen also directly appointed 11 members to the organizing panel. They include the heads of the six most powerful business and industry organizations such as Jeffrey Koo, chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry & Commerce and Chinatrust Commercial Bank. Chen also named to the panel the head of a national labor organization as well as Robert H.C. Tsao, chairman of United Microelectronics Corp. The three economists and researchers picked by Chen are Chu Ching-yi, vice president of the Academia Sinica; Mai Chao-chen, president of Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research; and Wu Rong-i, president of Taiwan Institute of Economic Research. One conspicuous omission on the panel is chairman Wang Yung-ching of the Formosa Plastics Group. There were widespread speculations that President Chen had initially planned to invite Wang as a deputy convener of the organizing panel. After wining presidential election, Chen had called on Wang a couple of times and solicited his advice. But Chen later decided to pick TSMC’s Chang to replace Wang. Wang is thought to have been dumped mainly because of his recent negative appraisal of the DPP government and his criticism of the DPP’s pro-independence and anti-mainland ideologies. When questioned by reporters yesterday, Wang said he would offer his opinions if invited. But he didn’t ask and won’t take any initiative to get on the panel either. But the highly respected industry leaders severely criticized former President Lee Teng-hui’s remarks that Taiwan’s economy will reach a new high in two years. Wang brushed aside Lee’s statement as empty talk, saying everybody knows where Taiwan’s economy will be two years from now. He cited the shutdown of two plants in Taiwan by the Philips Group as an indicator. Yet he still praised the establishment of the presidential economic development advisory committee because it may find the right development direction for the nation’s economy.