Lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee and Education and Culture Committee yesterday raised questions about the qualifications of nominees for the roles of chairperson, vice chairperson and two regular members at the National Communications Commission (NCC), with issues ranging from the validity of their work experience to violations of academic ethics.
The four nominees who were seeking to steer the NCC — the independent statutory agency responsible for regulating the communications and information industry — were National Dong Hwa University professor Howard Shyr (石世豪), National Chiao Tung University professor Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成), National Tsing Hua University professor Peng Shin-yi (彭心儀) and Integral Investment Holdings Group general manager Chen Yuan-ling (陳元玲).
Shyr was nominated as NCC chairperson and Yu as vice chairperson. The nominations have yet to be approved by the legislature's Transportation Committee and the legislative assembly.
The qualification review was postponed twice as Chen failed to provide adequate information while being quizzed by legislators and her background became the focus of a question-and-answer session.
Several lawmakers, including DPP legislators Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), Pasuya Yao (姚文智) and Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲), asked Chen to name three major broadcast laws. That Chen was able to name just two prompted claims that she was not qualified for the post of NCC commissioner.
Chen’s current position at the venture capital firm Integral and her experience at a series of foreign television stations also came under scrutiny. Yeh said they found that Integral Group, which Chen’s husband heads, manages US$15 billion in China.
“It has always been China’s ploy to use business interests to accomplish its political purposes. Given that your company has such a huge stake in China, are you sure you will put the national interest above corporate interests?” Yeh asked Chen.
Yao said none of his friends in the media knew anything about Chen despite her claim that she had extensive experience in media management. He questioned whether Chen had only been able to secure the nomination because she was acquainted with Chou Huei-ting (周慧婷), the wife of former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), a close aide of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
In response, Chen said Integral is a Taiwan-based company, adding that its Shanghai office was only established for contact purposes. Chen denied Yeh’s claim regarding the amount of capital the company manages in China, adding that her experience at the enterprise would not affect her performance at the NCC.
Both Chen and Yu admitted they hold dual Taiwan-US citizenship and said they would renounce their US nationalities if their nominations were approved.
“I would have given up my US citizenship in vain if the nomination is not approved,” Yu said.
Kuan said Yu may have violated the Nationality Act (國籍法) because he failed to inform National Chiao Tung University that he has dual citizenship.
Yu said he never lied about his US citizenship, adding that he had reported it to the university.
Peng was accused of using similar reports to apply for funding in different institutions.
Peng said it was unfair that the legislators only focused on the similarities in the reports but ignored the differences.
“I am in the process of collecting all the information and will defend my reputation at the right time,” Peng said.