Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) apologized to the public for the lard oil scandal after opposition parties boycotted his scheduled policy address yesterday morning on the first day of the new legislative plenary session. He again apologized in the afternoon during his policy address.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislators occupied the podium on which Jiang planned to present his policy address yesterday morning.
DPP lawmakers held up banners calling for Jiang to apologize and for Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta’s (邱文達) resignation, saying that food safety, safety in the construction industry and national security have been neglected during their terms.
They also called for the setting up of a document-requesting committee in the legislature.
TSU lawmakers’ banners read: “The public suffers because of an impotent president and a recycled waste oil Cabinet” and “Apologize first, report later.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators were well prepared as well, holding up placards asking the opposition to stop obstructing legislative procedure.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The standoff led to a closed-door cross-party negotiation, which had failed to reach a consensus by the end of the morning.
Jiang, when leaving the chamber for the noon recess without having made his policy address, was stopped by reporters and it was then that he first uttered his apology.
He said he was infuriated by a few food manufacturers or related businesses who sacrificed the health of the public and the nation’s reputation for the sake of their own profits.
“I’m here to offer my apology, as a representative of the government, to the public for the food scares over the past two years that have caused grave concern and dissatisfaction with all levels of government for the lack of its ability to secure food safety,” he said.
Jiang made the same apology again in the legislature when he made his policy address in the afternoon, during the first five minutes of which TSU legislators again raised their placards, prompting criticism from KMT legislators.
The apology was not offered at the beginning of the presentation, but during the premier’s policy address, which covered seven major policies on population, state-owned land, education, industry, social welfare, culture and health.
After bowing, Jiang said that companies found guilty of illegal actions would be severely punished and that the Executive Yuan had established a special task force to coordinate the response of different ministries and departments to the tainted lard oil case.
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