Legislators from across party lines said they were not surprised by the resignation of Executive Yuan spokesman Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉).
Hu tendered his resignation on Friday evening following a message he had posted on his Facebook page earlier in the day stating that he and Amelie Chang (張蓉君), a master’s degree student at National Taiwan Normal University, where Hu also serves as professor in mass communications, recently began a relationship.
Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has approved Hu’s resignation and Hu said he plans to return to the academic facility to teach.
Hu was first embroiled in controversy over a picture he posted of an iPhone onto his Facebook page on Sept. 29 which netizens said conflicted with the governmental policy of using products “Made in/by Taiwan.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the purpose of the Executive Yuan spokesperson was to explain the premier’s policies and ideals, adding that Hu’s personal issues which had appeared in the media several times — to the extent that Chen had to defend him — clearly indicated he was not fit for the job.
Lee, who on Friday singled out Hu, Council of Economic Planning and Development Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘), Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) and Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) as the five Cabinet officials “out of sync” with their jobs, said he doubted Hu was the only one in the Cabinet with problems.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said Hu’s resignation at this point in time was simply a band-aid applied to a major wound. Echoing Tsai’s remarks, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said Sean Chen’s prompt approval of Hu’s resignation was precisely because Hu had tarnished the image of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, adding that the move did not demonstrate real “guts” as it had been a passive one.
The episode serves to highlight why it is imperative for the Cabinet to change its financial team before their ineptitude led to greater harm for people, Tsai added.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said Hu had brought it on himself, adding that it was sad to see that not only was the Executive Yuan’s spokesperson not able to generate a positive image for the government, but that he had jumped headfirst into the tarpit.
KMT Legislator Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) said the premier had given Hu many chances and Hu should have known better than to continually put himself on the firing line and then literally offer the firing squad more ammunition.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said Hu was at a disadvantage and had to start from scratch given that his post had traditionally been filled by the minister of the now-dissolved Government Information Office.
Hu had no precedent to follow in a highly volatile political environment, as well as the recession gripping the economy, and his crossing into a government position after being involved in academic matters “shook him up good,” Wu said, adding that Hu had chosen to quit because he was unable to cope with the political sphere while also encountering heavy setbacks in his work.
Meanwhile, Hu yesterday posted a comment onto his Facebook page stating: “The day after tomorrow, the Professor Hu who is witty, humorous and quick with words — the one you all love and can’t get enough of — will be back teaching.”
Hu added that he would be taking a break over the next few days to calm down and gather his thoughts, “after which I’ll tell you all about the things I’ve learned and observed during my time at the central government.”
“From today onward I will not be accepting any interviews with the press on anything concerning my privacy. I thank reporters for their interest, but there are more important matters — such as national development — which merit the press’ attention and we should all respect the rights of privacy for each member within society,” he wrote.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang and Chiu Yen-ling