Cabinet backs removal of Chunghwa Post executives for mismanagement

Hundreds of members of the Chunghwa Postal Workers’ Union held a rally later in the day, demanding that the company revoke its decision to remove Wei and Chen. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Cabinet supports the decision of the relevant ministry to remove two executives of Chunghwa Post Co. for dereliction of duty in the lease of the company’s 15 storage units at a new logistics park, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said on May 16.

The Cabinet (Executive Yuan) will not seek to reverse the decision to dismiss Chunghwa Post Chairman Louis Wei (魏健宏) and its president Chen Shian-juh (陳憲著), Kolas said.

Wei and Chen were removed because an investigation by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, under which Chunghwa Post falls, found that they were at fault for mismanagement of the company’s logistics park project in Taoyuan City, according to Kolas.

Chen, who was responsible for the project, denied any wrongdoing and opted for early retirement. On Tuesday, he was replaced by Chiang Jui-tang (江瑞堂), the company’s vice president.

The removal of the two executives had nothing to do with factional struggles within the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as had been rumored, Kolas said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of members of the Chunghwa Postal Workers’ Union held a rally later in the day, demanding that the company revoke its decision to remove Wei and Chen.

In a petition submitted to the Cabinet, the union said there had been no wrongdoing and the workers’ reputations should not be soiled.

“Reject smearing, restore the reputation of Chunghwa Post, return justice and clear our names,” read the banners held by the workers, who were led by the head of the union Wu Wen-feng (吳文豐).

The opening of the logistics park in 2021 will be a good opportunity for the 123-year-old Chunghwa Post to positively transform its business model, the workers said.

They threatened to stage a larger protest if the Cabinet did not examine the facts and give a response within 15 days.

The controversy emerged after several DPP lawmakers accused the postal company of showing favor by leasing all 15 of its storage units in the Chunghwa Post Logistics Park to PChome Online Inc.

Instead of setting a limit on the number of units a single company could lease, Chunghwa Post assigned all of the units to PChome, which was one of three eligible bidders for storage space, the lawmakers said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, PChome Chairman Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志) accused the lawmakers of distorting the facts and said his company had the right to bid for the 15 storage units.

PChome, the largest e-commerce company in Taiwan, was ranked first in Chunghwa Post’s evaluation of the bids and gained approval in March to lease the units, according to Jan.

Since then, however, PChome has been under pressure to give up some of the units, due to interference by “powerful people,” he said.

He said the lease of the 15 storage units would require an investment of at least NT$5.3 billion (US$170.06 million) over the next 15 years, plus additional costs of NT$3 billion, but it would be a win-win situation for PChome and Chunghwa Post when the logistics center opens in 2021.

By 2023, PChome’s output is expected to rise to 7.1 million products per year, all of which will be delivered by Chunghwa Post, Jan said.

By Flor Wang, Jeffrey Wu and Elain Hou