Fri, Sep 09, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Cho says interviewer was not nice to Premier Hsieh

BY JIMMY CHUANG  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA, KAOHSIUNG AND TAIPEI

Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday criticized TV talk show host Lee Tao (李濤) for "not being neutral" when he interviewed Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) on Wednesday night.

"He was obviously trying to look for trouble when he was interviewing the premier," Cho said. "On the whole, I think his performance during the interview was unprofessional."

Cho made his complaint yesterday morning, after he was approached by reporters and asked for comments on the Wednesday night interview.

Hsieh was invited to participate on the 2100 Public Talk show on TVBS Wednesday night, to discuss the Thai worker riot issue. During the show, the premier and Lee had a heated exchange.

Regarding the premier's aggressive attitude during the interview, Cho defended Hsieh and said that the premier was merely "cooperating with the host." Cho took a question from Lee as an example. He said that while Lee was questioning Hsieh, a former Kaohsiung mayor, about allegations of favoritism when the government chose the contractor for the MRT project, Lee omitted the fact that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝) was at the time president of the China Steel Corp (CSC).

The CSC won the bid to become the contractor for Kaohsiung's MRT system during Hsieh's eight-year term as the mayor.

"Lee has been criticizing the issue for the past couple of days. According to his attitude and his questions for the premier, it was obvious that Lee was trying to attack the premier on purpose," Cho said.

In addition to alleged attacks during the conversation, the spokesman also complained that Lee interrupted Hsieh several times during the interview.

"I think what he did there was very arrogant and rude. When you are interviewing somebody, you should be very polite and let the person finish whatever he is trying to say, right?" Cho added.

Meanwhile, KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) said yesterday that Hsieh was trying to "shift responsibility and divert people's attention" by saying that his predecessor as Kaohsiung mayor, Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), made the decision to build the city's mass rapid transit system under the BOT model.

Cheng made the remarks in response to Hsieh, who in the interview Wednesday night, said the decision to build Kaohisung's mass rapid transit system under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) model was made when the KM was in power both in the city and in the central government.

Cheng claimed that all contracts for the construction project were awarded and executed during Hsieh's time in office in Kaohsiung, and it is Hsieh who must explain matters to the people regarding the current controversies surrounding the MRT's construction.

She said that Wu had only decided on the "direction" of building the MRT system under the "build, operate and transfer" formula -- a decision which she said the Cabinet at the time did not agree with.

If Hsieh was against the BOT project, he could have changed it instead of carrying through with it, the KMT spokesman said.

Cheng also asked why the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government insisted on removing CSC chairman Wang after the party came to power in 2000, and then hurried to award all the construction contracts for the project. She added that there should be a complete investigation into the awarding of the contracts.

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