Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Yu denies allegations of funding for dirty politics

SECRET FUNDS The premier said accusations that the Cabinet plans to spend NT$100 billion to dig up dirt on the leaders of the pan-blue camp are groundless

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday dismissed an opposition lawmakers' allegation that the Cabinet has earmarked over NT$100 billion to court a hand-picked coterie of media to help it play dirty politics in next year's presidential election.

"The allegation is absolutely groundless. A rumor mill has been turning," Yu told reporters yesterday morning before attending the question-and-answer session about next year's annual budget request at the legislature.

Yu added that the nation is no longer governed by the provincial government. He said annual budgets were not as accessible and transparent under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as they are now.

Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), director of the People First Party's (PFP) policy research center, alleged on Sunday that the Cabinet has launched a so-called "818 campaign" headed by Yu to help President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) win re-election in March.

High on the alleged "818 campaign" agenda was to dig up dirt on PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) under the guise of gathering classified information, Chang said.

In addition to favoring particular media in the hope of obtaining slanted media coverage, Chang charged that the Cabinet has skillfully allocated over NT$100 billion in next year's annual budget to court voters.

In response to questions by KMT legislators Kuo Tien-tsai (郭添財), Chang Tsai-mei (張蔡美) and Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), who aired their suspicion that the recent attacks against Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) were part of the "818 campaign," Yu denied the existence of such a scheme.

Regarding the successor of Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former head of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Yu said that he has not yet started to inquire about any particular person.

"We welcome any suggestions from lawmakers, media and experts and will take their advice into account," Yu said.

"While I hope to find Hau's successor as soon as possible, I'm sure the acting administrator, Chang Juu-en (張祖恩), is doing a fine job in the absence of the administrator."

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