At the request of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday revoked Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng’s (王金平) party membership, a move that could strip him of the position he has occupied since 1999, the longest in the nation’s history.
If Wang, a KMT legislator-at-large, fails to reverse the decision through appeals to the party leadership or through other judicial means, his status as a lawmaker will be nullified and he will lose his post as speaker.
The decision was reached by a meeting of the KMT’s Central Evaluation and Discipline Committee.
Before the meeting began, Ma delivered a harshly worded statement to the media at 8:30am saying that the influence-peddling case in which Wang is allegedly involved “disqualified” him from being the legislative speaker.
It was the second strongly worded statement about Wang that the president has made since the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office Special Investigation Division (SID) on Friday last week accused Wang of meddling in a breach of trust lawsuit on behalf of Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) by urging two high-ranking judicial officials to influence a prosecutor into refraining from appealing Ker’s not-guilty verdict.
Huang Chao-yuan (黃昭元), head of the disciplinary committee, said the decision was made after more than two hours of discussion in which it was concluded that Wang “has seriously damaged the party’s image and reputation.”
Photo: Mandy Cheng / AFP
The 15-seat committee was composed of Huang, deputy committee head John Shen (沈榮峰) and 13 other members whose identities were not made public. Four members were absent for various reasons.
Ma, who heads the KMT as chairman, arrived at the party’s headquarters early in the morning and stayed in his office until the committee handed down the ruling at about 11:30am, apparently to see if it would oblige his request that Wang be removed from the party.
As a result, Ma’s 10:15am meeting at the Presidential Office with El Salvadoran Parliament Speaker Sigfrido Reyes was canceled and Reyes was received by Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) instead.
At the 8:30am press conference, Ma said he has refrained from saying that Wang should resign on his own accord since the SID disclosed the case.
“What I had hoped was that Wang would voluntarily offer to resign as legislative speaker and as KMT legislator-at-large to preserve some dignity for the legislature and the KMT,” Ma said.
Now that Wang has failed to offer to resign, the responsibility to deprive him of his office lay with the KMT, the president said.
“Doing otherwise would be tantamount to acquiescing to judicial dignity being trampled upon,” Ma said.
He again criticized Wang for his “evasiveness” about the “fact” that he “has engaged in influence peddling in Ker’s [case].”
The “hard facts” of Wang’s involvement are obvious, but Wang “didn’t even apologize” for his misconduct, Ma said.
Addressing a meeting of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee in the afternoon, the president applauded the disciplinary committee for making the “right” decision, although it was a “painful” one.
He added that Wang had contributed significantly to the party over the years, “but the [influence-peddling] incident was a chance for the party to wipe away [our] past mistakes and engage in reform, which is the only way to move the party forward and to promote party unity.”
KMT officials who declined to be named said the legislative speaker attended the meeting for just five minutes and told the disciplinary committee that he had neither interfered with a judicial process nor violated the party’s regulations.
After Wang left, Ma was invited to give his position on the matter, a KMT official said, adding that the president had teared up as he talked about his feelings on Wang’s alleged misconduct.
During the discussion, concerns were raised that the membership revocation would be a disadvantage when soliciting votes in southern Taiwan and one attendee questioned Wang’s loyalty to the party, a KMT official said.
A member of the disciplinary committee said he wondered why Wang had reportedly tried to help Ker, but not other party members involved in lawsuits, like Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ju (賴素如), former Executive Yuan secretary-general Lin Yi-shih (林益世) and Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮).
Later yesterday, Central Election Commission Vice Chairman Liu I-chou (劉義周) confirmed that the commission had received a message from KMT headquarters voiding Wang’s membership in the afternoon, adding that it forwarded the notice to the Legislative Yuan.
“We received the notice in the afternoon and have forwarded it to the Legislative Yuan,” Liu told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview.
“The Legislative Yuan will now remove Wang as a legislator and notify us in writing once they void his status as a legislator,” Liu said.
“Upon receiving confirmation from the Legislative Yuan, we will formally announce the name of the person who will take over Wang’s seat,” Liu added.
Liu added that, according to the law, Wang would lose his status as a legislator the same day his party membership is rescinded.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
TAIWAN PROTECTION MEASURE: US Army General Charles Flynn would not say where in the Asia-Pacific the missiles would be sent, but only that they would arrive in 2024 The US is to send medium-range missiles including the Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) and Tomahawk to the Asia-Pacific next year to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan, US military news Web site Defense One reported. The report cited comments US Army General Charles Flynn made during the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Nov. 19. “We have tested them and we have a battery or two of them today,” Flynn was quoted as saying. “In 24. We intend to deploy that system in your region. I’m not going to say where and when. But I will just say that we will
LOYALTY: The 10 active and retired soldiers betrayed the nation and its people by leaking and passing on military secrets to China, the High Prosecutors’ Office said Ten former and current military officers were yesterday indicted on charges of spying for China, including two who allegedly filmed themselves pledging loyalty to Beijing. The High Prosecutors’ Office requested life imprisonment for the suspects in light of the severity of the crime. The 10 active-duty and retired officers included members of the 601st Brigade of the Aviation Special Forces comprising attack helicopter squadrons and elite combat units in charge of defending northern Taiwan, including Taipei. The other suspects came from Huadong Defense Command, in charge of defending the eastern coast; Kinmen Defense Command, in charge of defending Kinmen and Matsu; and one
NO FREE LUNCH: Taiwanese joining the trips to China met TAO and United Front Work officials who urged them to vote for candidates who support closer ties with Beijing The Ciaotou Prosecutors’ Office in Kaohsiung yesterday released two suspects on bail who have been accused of recruiting Taiwanese to join tours to China funded by Beijing and in which they were urged to vote for pan-blue candidates in January’s presidential and legislative elections. The pan-blue camp generally refers to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the People First Party, the New Party and the Young China Party, which support closer relations with China. Prosecutors said that a man, surnamed Cheng (鄭), and a woman, surnamed Yeh (葉), who are members of the China Pan-Blue Association, recruited Taiwanese tourists to join tours arranged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday slammed a proposal by New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, to permit a “significant number” of Chinese students to study and work in Taiwan, saying it would be detrimental to young Taiwanese. At an event on Monday hosted by nine major industrial and business groups, Hou said that if elected, he would reinitiate cross-strait dialogue on the premise that Taiwan’s dignity would not be compromised and that the talks would be held in good faith. The talks would include lifting a ban on Chinese tour groups and