DPP urges Ma spokesman to get new job

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Aug 24, 2010 - Page 1

Angered by Presidential Office Spokesperson Lo Chih-chiang’s (羅智強) recent snipes at Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the DPP yesterday urged Lo to think about getting a new job.

“Since all his remarks are either criticisms or attacks on the DPP and our candidates [in the special municipality elections], Lo should quit his post as Presidential Office spokesperson and find a job with the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT],” DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said.

The Presidential Office criticized Tsai on Sunday for questioning the budget for the Republic of China’s (ROC) centennial celebrations, saying she was not supportive of the event. While Tsai had a right not to support the government’s plans, she did not have to be so “sarcastic,” Lo said at the time.

Last week, Lo also lashed out at DPP candidates in the year-end election, writing in a letter to the Chinese-language United Daily News that Taipei candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had failed to improve Taiwan-US relations when he was premier under former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

He also described Tsai, who is running for mayor of Sinbei, as an “irresponsible figure” after she said she would let Taiwanese decide the future of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) if the DPP regains power in 2012.

Lo’s comments come despite recent remarks by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that political parties should “exercise greater tolerance” for each other and hold back from partisan attacks.

“It’s clear that this policy isn’t working. Without any political achievements [in the past two years], all the KMT has left is discrediting and propagating false information about the DPP and its candidates,” Lin said.

Lo, who took up his job in March, served as Ma’s campaign spokesman during the 2008 presidential election campaign.

Last month, a report by US-based Freedom House accused Lo of using his authority to tone down controversial criticisms of the government when he was vice chairman of the Central News Agency.

Lin said Lo should focus on publicizing government policies, understanding public opinion and handling petitions, as outlined under Article 8 of the ROC Office of the President Organization Act (中華民國總統府組織法).

“Instead, Lo uses his position — which comes with a cushy government salary of at least NT$100,000 a month — to do what should be done by either the KMT spokesperson or the campaign staff of KMT [candidates],” he said.

However, Lo said it was his duty to defend Ma, adding that he was forced to respond after Tsai “defamed” the ECFA and found fault with the ROC centennial budget. It was his duty as a government spokesman to defend the president’s policies, especially when they were being distorted, he said.

“I hope Tsai will take her political image into consideration and stop making her vicious remarks,” Lo said. “What’s wrong with asking her to apologize for making abusive comments about the president?”

If Tsai cared so much about his comments, she should rein in her party, not ask him to shut up and take a punch, Lo said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING

Also See: EDITORIAL : For the love of Taiwan, get it right