Taipei city councilors across party lines yesterday boycotted Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) for about an hour on the first day of their new session, criticizing him for using city officials and resources to operate his new Taiwan People’s Party (TPP).
The TPP on Aug. 6 officially launched and elected Ko as its founding chairman, but its founding members included several Taipei City Government officials and his close aides.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), mimicking Ko’s controversial remark that the “two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family,” said that after Ko formed the TPP, the city government and the party has become one family
“[Ko] is taking advantage of Taipei residents,” because while they are working hard and paying taxes, Ko is abusing public resources to benefit his own party, such as planning to nominate department heads as the TPP’s picks for legislator-at-large seats in next year’s election, he said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Chih-ping (汪志冰) said that Ko has been visiting places outside of Taipei in the past nine months, so he was either making plans for his party or preparing to run for president, but his administrative activities are not apparent.
“The city government has become the TPP’s central office,” Wang Chih-ping said, adding that using taxpayer money to run his party definitely constitutes “using public resources for personal gain.”
Several city officials and advisers are reportedly considering running for legislator-at-large seats, showing that Ko is flagrantly abusing public resources, KMT Taipei City Councilor Wu Shih-cheng (吳世正) said, urging TPP members who are focused on the party’s operations to resign from their city government posts.
KMT Taipei City Councilor Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇) said that Taipei City Government adviser Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如), a close aide to Ko, earns a high salary from the city government, but last month registered with the Ministry of the Interior about forming the TPP and on Tuesday visited the Central Election Commission in Taipei to ask about registering as an independent candidate.
Tsai is also reportedly to help Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou’s (郭台銘) presidential election campaign if the tycoon decides to enter the race, she said, asking why the Taipei City Government should pay Tsai’s salary for her to conduct party operations.
KMT Taipei City Councilor Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) said that department heads in the past two months asked for 188 days of total leave, including 100 days for “personal reasons,” while nine department heads asked for leave to attend the TPP’s launch event, showing that Ko has failed to set a good example for city officials.
Ko said that city officials who are also TPP members would perform their duties according to the law and ask for leave accordingly when they have to attend to other affairs.
Those who cannot balance their government and party duties would resign, he added.