The Cabinet yesterday announced a major reshuffle of top officials, appointing Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) to lead the Financial Supervisory Commission, which is Taiwan's top financial regulator.
Meanwhile, Taipei Physical Education College Principal Yang Chung-ho was named as head of the sports council and former Kaohsiung deputy mayor Tang Jinn-chuan (湯金全) was asked to helm the Fair Trade Commission, while Minister Without Portfolio Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), former economic minister, is to fill Hu's vacancy.
Former FSC Chairman Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) tendered his resignation earlier this month to take political responsibility for the financial storm, as well as a run on The Chinese Bank triggered by the Rebar Group's financial crisis.
The newly appointed FSC chairman, who is also a minister without portfolio, vowed to stabilize the financial market and propose a new bill aimed at preventing financial scandals like the Rebar fiasco from happening again.
The scholar-turned-politician Hu noted that since he served as the Cabinet's minister without portfolio in 2001, he has participated in making financial policies as well as dealing with financial affairs, emphasizing that he will carry out a series of financial reforms that the Cabinet is going to propose.
The 67-year-old cabinet member disclosed that he told Premier Su Tseng-cheng he would be dedicated in his duty as FSC chairman, when the premier asked whether he is willing to act as the chairman.
As former FSC Chairman Kong Jaw-sheng was indicted on corruption charges and former chief of FSC's examination bureau Lee Chin-chen was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking confidential information about the bureau's raid, the public hoped that the new FSC chairman could be an incorruptible leader.
Hu is widely considered to be a professional, hardworking and kind politician and is expected to maintain an honest image.
Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) noted that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the premier and Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) all have confidence in Hu.
Cheng cited that Hu is familiar with the financial market and was engaged in promoting past financial reforms, which led to a dramatic decrease in domestic banks' average non-performing loan ratio from over 12 percent in 1999 to 2.3 percent last year.
Hu helped the government deal with the Rebar case, Cheng noted, adding that the government is also grateful to former FSC Chairman Shih for his continuous assistance in the Rebar case even after he resigned.
Cheng further said that Ho Mei-yueh is good at negotiating and knows about Taiwan's economy, so she is qualified to take up Hu's vacant post.
With regard to the new leader of the Fair Trade Commission Tang Jinn-chuan, Cheng said that he is a legal expert and is expected to cooperate well with vice chairman of the commission, Yu Chao-chuan, a financial professional.
In addition, newly appointed chairman of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Yang Chung-ho expressed his gratitude to the premier for giving him the chance to make more of a contribution to Taiwan's sporting environment.
Yang stressed that he will continue to strive to strengthen the popularity of sports, reinforce Taiwanese prowess in competitive sports, and market a healthy and democratic Taiwan to the world.
Former sports council chairman Chen Chuan-shou resigned on Wednesday because Taiwanese athletes did not win at least 15 gold medals in the Asia Games in Doha, Qatar, and Kaohsiung City lost out to Shenzhen in its bid to host the 2011 Summer Universiade - the World University Games.