Culture minister tenders his resignation in grant scandal
Hung Meng-chi’s resignation attempt rebuffed by premier
The head of the Ministry of Culture ( MOC, ) , Hung Meng-chi ( ), tendered his resignation yesterday to the Executive Yuan ( ) over controversy surrounding government grants.
“I must said Hung.
Yesterday evening, Premier Mao Chi-kuo ( ) rejected Hung’s offer and urged him to rescind his resignation by phone. Hung has not yet responded as to whether he will see through his plans to resign, according to an Executive Yuan spokesman. According to a Next Magazine
) report issued yesterday,
responsibility,” in order to successfully pass its budget, the MOC proposed to directly allocate grants to Kuomintang ( KMT) legislators on the Education and Culture Committee (ECC, )— NT$2.5 million each.
“This event was made- up. But the article has damaged the image of the MOC. I must take responsibility for the MOC, and to (my) superiors,” said Hung, as he announced his resignation at a press conference yesterday afternoon.
Hung stated that the reporters had learned the information from an item on the agenda that was not included in the MOC’s official meeting records. Hung judged it to be unfeasible, and the proposi- tion was quickly rejected, said Hung, “It is regrettable that the information was leaked and the issue was inflated.”
Hung stressed that he has always insisted on administrative impartiality, especially in cultural affairs. He said that he believes the position should not be embroiled in political disputes. After his resignation, Hung said he will assist his successor in promptly taking over operations.
According to CNA, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei ( ) voiced her concerns: “Who proposed this grant arrangement?” Chen deemed the leaking of official documents a serious issue, and she questioned whether it had to do with an internal conflict.
“It is necessary for Hung to clearly address these questions. He must leave no stone unturned before leaving, or else this is evidently a political move to ‘stop the bleeding.’ The DPP will investigate this to the end,” said Chen. KMT caucus whip, Lin Te-fu (
), also remarked in an interview with CNA that the news was false, and he urged Hung make the details clear, so as to prevent the DPP from triggering political mud fights.
Member of the ECC and KMT legislator, Chen Shu-huey (
), said that to her understanding, the grant proposal was completely discarded and was not executed. Chen said legislators were not aware either, and this was a “campaign strategy.” Hung should have cleared the name of the KMT legislators involved before resigning, said another KMT legislator, Chen Pi-han ( ).
Hung has headed the MOC since the resignation of former minister Lung Ying-tai ( ) this January.