Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who usually sides with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) whenever a controversy arises, yesterday lashed out at the ministry over the use of a loan offered to Nicaragua in the purchase of South Korea-made computer durables.
Since the money for the loans comes from taxpayers, goods purchased with such government aid should generally be limited to locally produced products, Lin told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
“South Korea is the country I dislike most. Why were South Korean firms able to secure the bid and not Taiwanese firms?” Lin said.
He demanded that local enterprises have a priority in bidding for government foreign aid projects and said that he will propose cutting the budget earmarked for the ministry if it fails to address the problem.
“If local businesses collapse, you have nowhere to collect tax,” Lin told Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀), who was at the meeting to brief lawmakers on local business’ involvement in foreign aid projects.
As the committee’s co-chair, Lin scheduled yesterday’s meeting after he discovered that the computers facilities installed in an airport in Nicaragua under a Taiwanese foreign aid program were South Korean products, not Taiwanese.
According to the ministry, out of a total of NT$49.2 billion (US$1.68 billion) in foreign aid assistance loans offered between 2009 and this year, Taiwanese firms provided NT$6.1 billion, or 12 percent, of the products purchased.
Separately, Ambassador to Palau Maggie Tien (田台清) was lambasted by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) for having the KMT emblem on her business card.
Hsiao showed one of Tien’s business cards at the committee meeting.
Ko said that the ministry has set guidelines for business cards.
“If it is true that the emblem is printed on her cards, it should be removed,” Ko said.
Meanwhile, at the request of DPP lawmakers, Ko promised that the ministry would complete an investigation within one month into an allegation made by KMT Legislator Ma Wen-jun (馬文君) last week that Tien had physically abused her former Indonesian housekeeper two years ago.