Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co general manager Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday said he had tendered his resignation, fueling speculation that he is planning to join the race for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairperson.
Han, a former KMT lawmaker, issued a statement urging the board to quickly call a meeting and approve his resignation.
The Chinese-language Want Weekly magazine on Tuesday reported that a raid of the firm — including Han’s office — by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office last week following soaring produce prices over the past few months, compounded with Han’s belief that the KMT is “old and weak,” strengthened his resolve to campaign for KMT chairman in an effort to help the party “make a comeback.”
Han resented being accused of colluding with price gougers, saying that fruit and vegetable prices had increased across the nation — not only in Taipei — because of a series of typhoons last year, the report said.
One of his aides yesterday said Han would announce his bid today.
Han’s entry into the race would mean KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) would face an additional challenger, alongside KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), in the May election.
As Han’s term as the company’s general manager was to officially end in June, his resignation would mean that the board must soon elect a new president, which has been pending since September last year, under the Company Act (公司法).
Personnel issues at the partly government-owned company have been in limbo after the Taipei City Government’s and the Council of Agriculture’s representation on the firm’s board of standing directors was reduced to three seats out of eight in an election in October last year, resulting in directors appointed by the two agencies in November boycotting a board meeting to elect a new president.
In the statement, Han said that after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government took office last year, Council of Agriculture Minister Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) and DPP Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福) visited him to persuade him to leave his post.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) confirmed in an interview that Hung Yao-fu introduced company director Lin Chiu-hui (林秋慧), who was appointed by the city government, to him and asked Ko to nominate Lin as the company’s president, Han said, adding that resulted in a DPP smear campaign against him.
Hung Yao-fu rejected the allegation, calling it a “red herring.”
He said that he never recommended any candidate for company president to Ko.