The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged Executive Yuan spokesman Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) and Cabinet Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) to attend a legislative committee session tomorrow, after Ting was accused of breaching neutrality rules by spreading misinformation about US beef.
KMT Legislator Sra Kacaw said that Ting and Li, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Civil Service and the Ministry of Justice, should attend the Internal Administration Committee meeting to report on the Executive Yuan’s “recent controversies.”
If Ting and Lee did not attend the session, the KMT caucus would boycott the committee’s budget review, KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said.
Photo: Chou Hsiang-yun, Taipei Times
Some of Ting’s aides were earlier this month allegedly found making partisan materials using taxpayers’ funds.
Ting has said that the winning dish at the Taipei Beef Noodle Festival last month used US beef containing ractopamine residue, Lin said.
However, the restaurant that won the prize on Thursday published a copy of a certificate showing that no ractopamine residue was found in its dishes, Lin added.
While Ting and Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) after the controversy ate at the restaurant and apologized, they did not compensate for the damage done to its reputation and that of other beef noodle restaurants, Lin said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration is abusing the beef noodle industry for their own gain, as it wants to legitimize its plan for easing restrictions on the import of US pork containing the feed additive, he said.
Currently, imports to Taiwan of US beef is required by law to be from cattle less than 30 months old, and tests found that only three out of 50,705 beef samples contained ractopamine, Lin said.
However, if beef from older cattle would be imported after the rule changes — which are to take effect on Jan. 1 — this rate might surge, he added.
KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who previously served as the Executive Yuan spokesman, said on Facebook that he had mixed feelings seeing Ting becoming a target in the dispute.
The spokesperson represents the premier, the ruling party and the entire nation, so they should be extremely careful with what they say, and their behavior has to adhere to higher moral standards, Chiang said.
Instead of facilitating dialogue, Ting is attacking the opposition, Chiang said, suggesting that Ting should step down from the post.
When speaking to media on Thursday, instead of communicating key points of a meeting of Cabinet members and local government leaders, Ting attacked Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Chiang said.
This came after Ko called for more specific labeling of US pork that is imported to Taiwan, he added.
Ting’s behavior jeopardizes the trust between the central and local governments, and the reputation of beef noodle restaurants, Chiang said.
Ting said the Executive Yuan respects the legislature’s authority, and would deliberate over whether to attend tomorrow's meeting as per precedents.
However, a DPP member, on condition of anonymity, said that Ting’s attendance would be voluntary, as the Cabinet spokesperson is only required to attend legislative committee sessions other than sessions reviewing the central government’s budget.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
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