Independent Taipei mayor hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has come under fire from rivals questioning his credentials and inexperience.
“I don’t think blackening my name would help their support rates,” said the National Taiwan University Hospital physician, who is trailing only former Taipei EasyCard Corp president Sean Lien (連勝文) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in public opinion polls conducted on the capital’s mayoral election.
Former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday raised Ko’s involvement in a corruption case, in which Ko and hundreds of other university professors were indicted on corruption charges for allegedly using false receipts to claim research funds.
Because he “has not even run for a city councilor seat,” Lu also questioned Ko’s ability to lead more than 10,000 Taipei City Government employees and manage an annual budget of more than NT$700 billion (US$23.3 billion).
“[Lu] was a victim under the KMT authoritarian regime in the past, but it seems to me that she is now talking like a bully,” Ko said.
Ko could become the former vice president’s primary rival in the DPP primary if the physician eventually joins the party.
Also joining the fray was KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) who has announced his mayoral bid for the KMT primary, and who raised speculation on Saturday about Ko’s competence.
Ting was referring to an incident in 2011 in which NTU Hospital inadvertently transplanted the organs of an HIV-infected donor into five organ recipients. Ko was the leader of the hospital’s organ donation project.
Meanwhile the physician, who has been known for his one-liners and quick wit, also appeared to have landed himself in trouble of his own making.
Lawyer Wellington Koo (顧立雄), also an aspirant candidate for the DPP’s Taipei primary, said yesterday morning that he would welcome Ko joining the DPP.
Ko responded by saying Koo’s comment did not carry any weight and that he could not care less about Koo, because the lawyer “is not on the same level as the one I should be talking to about joining the DPP.”
“The man that I should be talking to is DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), not him,” Ko said.
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
CONTROVERSY: NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang said an outcry over overseas Taiwanese not paying premiums, but having coverage, is pushing rule amendments Rules changes are being considered that would force Taiwanese who permanently live abroad to pay National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums for the period they were overseas before they can re-enroll in the system, National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) yesterday said. The case of a married Taiwanese couple who lived in the US for about 30 years, but returned to Taiwan in April and tested positive for COVID-19 has again sparked public debate over why Taiwanese living abroad are allowed to use NHI resources, — although the couple’s expenses were not covered by the NHI. An often cited example
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