VAC min­is­ter apol­o­gizes over ‘ass­hole’ re­marks

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

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.

Tung’s Self-de­fense

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.

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