The Presidential Office yesterday said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should “do its homework” before accusing President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of not supporting plans to bid for an LPGA tournament in Taiwan.
Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said Taiwan could hold the LPGA event this year if the private and public sector cooperated.
“I wish DPP legislators had double-checked the facts before they commented on this matter, particularly on the government and private sector’s joint efforts,” Lo said.
Lo said Taiwan could not host the LPGA in 2009 mainly because of the global financial crisis. While the event should mainly be funded by corporate sponsors, the government’s role was to assist the private sector in making the event possible. However, the financial crisis made it difficult, he said.
As the economy began to recover last year, Lo said Taiwan could host the international event this year as well as the following two years.
Lo said he welcomed constructive criticism and respected the opinions of some people who accused Ma of ignoring Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) until she became the world’s No. 1 woman golfer on Sunday.
However, no one, including DPP legislators, has the right to use defamatory language to attack the president, he said.
“It’s a problem DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) must address,” he said.
Lo was referring to comments by DPP caucus whip Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) on Monday, in which he described Ma as a “dumb president,” saying his administration preferred to spend NT$14 billion (US$475.8 million) on the Taipei International Flora Expo rather than allocate NT$200 million to help organize an LPGA event to promote Taiwan.
Lo said this was not the first time Gao had used inappropriate language to criticize the president.
Last Thursday, Gao described Ma as a “turtle’s grandson” (龜孫子, or a “wimp”) for staying silent when the Philippines extradited 14 Taiwanese fraud suspects to China.
Sports Affairs Council Deputy Minister Steven Chen (陳士魁) -yesterday said the council has been supportive of hosting an LPGA event since the Golf Association of the Republic of China proposed the idea in December 2009.
However, the council was short of money after funding the World Games in Kaohsiung and the Deaflympics in Taipei that year, he said. The council said the association should turn to corporate sponsors.
Chen said each LPGA tournament costs about NT$200 million and that the host country must commit to holding the event three years in a row.
He said he could not tell how much the council would contribute, as the amount hinged on various factors, including the size of the event, cost and the council’s financial situation, he said.
The council will need at least two months to complete the evaluation process, but they did not set a limit to the funding, he said.
LPGA commissioner Michael Whan last month announced that the “LPGA Taiwan Championship” in October would be one of the new events on the association’s 25-tournament schedule this year, along with the Imperial Springs LPGA event in Guangzhou, China, in August.
In early September last year, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) told a Rotary Club function that an LPGA tournament was one of the events on the Centenary Celebration Preparation Committee’s (which he chairs) calendar to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China.