VAC minister apologizes over ‘asshole’ remarks
The Cabinet-level Veterans Affairs Council (VAC, ) Minister Tung Hsiang-lung ( ) yesterday apologized to lawmakers over his previous remarks that said opposition legislators who cut VAC annual budget are “assholes”( ).
“I would like to sincerely apologize over my inappropriate remarks,” Tung said during an interpellation session in the Legislature yesterday after he was blasted by opposition lawmakers over his remarks made last year while stumping for a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker.
According to an audio recording released by opposition Demo- cratic Progressive Party ( DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (
) during yesterday’s session, Tung was recorded while encouraging veterans to voice their dissatisfaction with opposition lawmakers who cut the VAC budget.
In the audio recording, Tung called on veterans to protect their rights and scrutinize the lawmakers who decided to cut the VAC budget.
Tung further called on veterans to investigate which lawmakers made inappropriate remarks in the Legislature, urging them to telephone the office of those lawmakers in question and to yell “asshole” to them for failing to protect veterans’ rights.
According to Tsai, the audio recording was recorded while Tung was stumping for a KMT legislative candidate ahead of the nine-in-one elections held on Nov. 29, 2014.
Criticizing Tung’s remarks, Tsai said such comments are extremely unfitting for a government official, as it had provoked veterans’ dissatisfaction and antagonism toward opposition parties and lawmakers.
Tsai noted that opposition party lawmakers would normally freeze part of the VAC budget first and ask officials to further explain the purpose of the proposed budget before unfreezing it, instead of cutting it all together.
Another DPP legislator, Hsiao Bi- khim ( ) also blasted Tung’s remarks as inappropriate, adding that it is a lawmaker’s duty to examine the budget proposal made by a government unit.
Echoing his DPP counterparts’ view, ruling KMT lawmaker Lin Yu-fang ( ) said a government official should learn to speak properly in public.
According to DPP, it was KMT lawmakers who cut the NT$127 million VAC budget in 2014. DPP only froze NT$ 200,000 in the VAC budget that was later unfrozen following a briefing.
Asked to comment while fielding questions during the session, Tung confirmed that he did make such remarks.
Tung, however, said such remarks were not meant to provoke veterans’ hatred toward DPP lawmakers but were only meant to remind veterans to protect their own rights.
“Veterans are entitled to voice their opinion to lawmakers who cut the VAC budget,” he noted.
But he also confessed that he takes full responsibility over his own words and issued an apology over such “poor choice of words.”
In the wake of Tung’s remarks, the Legislative Yuan’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee passed a petition to criticize the VAC head’s “asshole” remarks, asking Tung to review his conduct.