President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to file an appeal with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and clarify his alleged lobbying acts to retain his party membership amid party members’ calls for reconciliation over their political rift.
“I encourage [Speaker Wang] to defend himself via an appeal with the party and use the chance to offer more explanations, because he has not clarified accusations of his improper lobbying,” he said yesterday in an interview with News 98 radio show host Clara Chu (周玉蔻).
Ma’s comments came in the wake of Wang’s statement on Tuesday that he will not seek an appeal with the KMT’s Integrity Committee to retain his party membership.
The legislative speaker won a lawsuit against the KMT on Tuesday after the Taiwan High Court rejected the KMT’s appeal against a Taipei District Court injunction to preserve Wang’s party membership amid controversy over a probe into alleged improper lobbying for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).
KMT spokesperson Yin Wei (殷瑋) said the party plans to appeal the Taiwan High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court soon.
While insisting on proceeding with the legal battle, the president yesterday said that Wang should seek an appeal within the KMT, and if the Integrity Committee of the KMT agreed that he was not involved in improper lobbying, it can suggest that the KMT’s Discipline Committee overrule its previous decision to revoke Wang’s membership.
The Discipline Committee revoked Wang’s party membership on Sept. 11 and sent the paperwork to him on Sept. 23. The party regulations state that Wang can file an appeal with the Integrity Committee within 20 days.
Ma declined to comment when asked whether the KMT is seeking to resolve the dispute via the appeal outside the court, but reiterated that he did not plan to “eliminate” Wang amid the improper lobbying accusations against him.
Ma said he knew there was criticism of his relentless handling of the incident, but insisted that Wang’s alleged lobbying was a serious matter, and the government should rise above personal feelings when handling such a case.
He also shrugged off his low approval ratings, and said his mother and other family members were all supportive of him.
Within the party, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) have called on Ma and the party to handle Wang’s alleged lobbying acts with care.
Several Central Standing Committee (CSC) members yesterday urged the party to drop its lawsuit against Wang.
CSC member Lee Chuan-chiao (李全教) said the Taiwan High Court’s ruling has damaged the party’s reputation, and accused Ma of being an inadequate party chairman.