Taiwan Financial Markets Chief Leaves as Cabinet Unveils Changes

Taiwan’s government appointed a new defense minister and a new financial markets regulator, as President Ma Ying-jeou seeks to arrest a decline in his popularity rating since winning re-election last year.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah announced in a briefing in Taipei today that deputy finance minister Tseng Ming-chung would become Minister of the Financial Supervisory Commission, replacing Chen Yuh-chang, who has led the commission since 2010. Deputy defense minister Andrew Yang will take over from Minister Kao Hua-chu. The appointees are tentatively set to take office Aug. 1, cabinet spokeswoman Cheng Li-wun told Bloomberg.

The leadership changes come after close discussions with Ma and are in response to public demand, cabinet said in a statement also released today.

Ma, 63, is battling a 70 percent disapproval rating, according to cable news network TVBS, and Chen’s opposition to allowing third-party payments led to complaints from the online shopping industry. Kao’s ministry faced criticism over the death of a 24-year-old army conscript this month, according to the Taipei-based Central News Agency.

Chen’s stance contributed to the view he was anti-reform, according to Michael On, president of Beyond Asset Management.

‘Strict Rules’

“Chen stepped down probably because he was conservative,” On said by phone in Taipei. “Taiwan’s financial sector changes very slowly, the rules are very strict. It’s a structural problem.”

Thousands meanwhile have called for an independent investigation into potential abuse and a flawed disciplinary process in the military, the Central News Agency reported on July 20. Conscript Hung Chung-chiu died in solitary confinement after carrying an illicit mobile phone into his barracks. Yang will be the third head of Taiwan’s defense department since Ma first took office in May 2008.

New ministers were also appointed to lead the Overseas Chinese Affairs Council, Veterans Affairs Commission, Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Public Construction Commission, according to the cabinet statement today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yu-Huay Sun in Taipei at ysun7@bloomberg.net; Adela Lin in Taipei at alin95@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net

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