Premier Chen tries to salvage NCC hearing

The China Post news staff

The China Post news staff–Premier Sean Chen said yesterday he was trying to prevent the cancellation of a National Communication Commission (NCC) public hearing as five of the seven commissioners opt out ahead of the deliberations next month.

“The Executive Yuan will do its best to discuss with commission members,” Chen was quoted as saying yesterday.

Some commissioners have indicated their intention to quit before the expiration of their terms, Chen explained, adding “we will do our best to work it out with them.”

The NCC has scheduled a public hearing for May to scrutinize a controversial merger proposal between two cable network companies. The hearing is in danger of be scrapped because of the likely absence of a majority of committee members.

According to media reports, several commissioners, in anticipation of great pressure on them, are said be considering bowing out of the hearing.

In a previous hearing held on Sept. 6, 2011, a proposal put forward by Want Want China Broadband (旺中寬頻), a Want Want Group subsidiary, to buy out China Network Systems (CNS), the country’s second-largest multiple system operator (MSO), for upwards of NT$70 billion, was be put under the magnifying glass, but three NCC members shied away from the hearing.

The monopolization of the public opinion apparatus seems to make commission members reluctant to give their views on the proposal.

Of the seven members, including Chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅), three have said they will be absent, citing a potential conflict of interest. Commission members Chang Shi-chung (張時中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s Department of Electrical Engineering, and Wei Shyue-win (魏學文), a professor at National Chi Nan University’s Department of Electrical Engineering, have tendered their resignation.

Official representatives expected to be present at the meeting will be Su and Liu Chorng-jian (劉崇堅) — that is, if they do not resign, too. But even if they are present, they do not constitute a quorum and hearing will have to be aborted.

Chen is expected to try and talk to two commissioners, even after the Executive Yuan has accepted Chang’s resignation.

According to NCC spokesman Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉), Chang, seconded from National Taiwan University, wants to return to NTU.