Taipei mayor reshuffles team after Twin Towers trouble
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-02-26 05:32 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin on Tuesday announced the replacements for city government officials who left in the wake of a controversy over the Taipei Twin Towers project.

Deputy Secretary General Tsai Huei-sheng will succeed Richard Chen as head of the Department of Rapid Transit Systems, Hau said Tuesday. Tsai is a former chairman and general manager of the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation.

Chen resigned to take responsibility for the failure of the group which won the bid for the NT$80 billion (US$2.6 billion) development project near the Taipei Railway Station to deposit a performance bond of NT$1.89 billion (US$63.6 million) by last Thursday’s deadline. The failure provoked loud calls for city government officials to face the music and resign, calls which Hau at first failed to heed.

One of Tsai’s priorities will be to open negotiations with Taiwan’s BES Engineering Corporation, the second-highest bidder on the project. It was not immediately clear why the winning consortium, Taipei Gateway International Development Co., Ltd. with Malaysia’s Mid Valley City Sdn. Bhd. and IGB Corporation Bhd., had failed to go ahead with the project.

Hau also announced the appointments of Wang Sheng-wei as new transportation chief, Huang Jung-feng as land administration head and of Hsinchu City fire chief Tsai Mao-wei as fire chief for the capital. Their predecessors had resigned for personal reasons not linked to the Twin Towers, reports said.

The mayor said he was still working to find a replacement for his deputy, Chen Wei-zen, who moved up to serve as secretary general of the Cabinet on February 18.

Hau said the Twin Towers case had damaged the city government’s image, and Richard Chen had insisted to take responsibility for the case and resign. There was no need for further resignations, Hau told reporters asking about further fallout.

He described Tsai as an expert, whose tasks would not only include further negotiations on the project but also the completion of the Xinyi and Songshan Mass Rapid Transit lines.

The Twin Towers, 76 floors and 56 floors high respectively, are expected to become the focus of a new transportation hub in central Taipei linking railway, high speed rail, subway and bus lines with the new MRT line to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The recent problems could have an impact on the Twin Towers’ expected completion date in 2018, reports said.

Tuesday’s reshuffle would serve to rescue Hau’s image as an efficient city administrator, reports said. The mayor is frequently named in the media as a potential Kuomintang candidate for the 2016 presidential election.

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