TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Executive Yuan yesterday confirmed that Premier Jiang Yi-huah has permitted the resignation of Labor Minister Pan Shih-wei after a local tabloid hinted that the latter may be involved with his assistant in an extramarital affair.
According to a Next Magazine report released on Wednesday, Pan was having an affair with Wang Mong-chun, his assistant and confidant, both of whom have stepped forward separately on Wednesday to deny the rumours.
The tabloid claimed that Pan was spotted making three late-night visits lasting one to two hours to Wang's residence over the course of a week. In particular, Pan preferred to travel to Wang's home on Wednesday nights by bicycle. The website of Apple Daily, an affiliate of the magazine, featured a video of Pan cycling to Wang's residence captured by reporters alongside a very suggestive commentary.
In addition, the report provided an account of Pan's lengthy professional relationship with Wang, which began when she was a college student and Pan a college professor. According to the report, Wang was handpicked to serve as Pan's assistant six years ago and had quickly risen to become a trusted confidant of the public servant.
Pan Calls to Resign
Cabinet spokesman Sun Li-chyun announced early yesterday that Pan had tendered his resignation via a telephone call to the premier, but Jiang had stated that he would be "talking matters over with Pan."
After the Cabinet announcement, Pan stepped forward to refute the news of his desired resignation but confirmed that he tendered his resignation to the Cabinet later the same day. "The government team should start forward without being troubled by personal matters ... I feel it appropriate for me to step down in order to prevent unnecessary misunderstandings," said Pan, who also laughed and said he could "finally take some time off."
"My personality is more 'Americanized,' and my thoughts too simple and straightforward. I didn't think that going to my secretary's house to discuss things would give way to all these problems, but I don't think I should be troubled by this. I should strive to perfect what I have to do," said Pan.
The former minister also stated that government officials should be open to public criticism and that he is not considering pressing charges as he had already explained his situation. "Society needs more communication and understanding."
Pan also joked that the courses he is teaching at the Chinese Cultural University will be more popular. Pan had allegedly gotten acquainted with Wang when she was a student at the same university.