DPP lawmaker apologises for private funeral 'insult'

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou (left) with Su Tseng-chang, chairman of Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

TAIPEI - Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chen Ou-po yesterday morning at the Legislative Yuan bowed and apologised over his remarks at the private funeral of President Ma Ying-jeou's mother.

Chen told local reporters that he feels sorry for causing troubles for the first family and for instigating controversies in society.

Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou on Tuesday held a press conference to condemn Chen's behaviour at the funeral. Gou said he would be willing to finance a campaign out of his own pocket to recall the lawmaker. He urged Yilan citizens - whom Chen represents at the Legislature - to oust the opposition legislator.

In response, Chen said Gou was not at the funeral service so he does not know what exactly happened there. Chen said the truth is that he meant no disrespect to the first family, noting that surveillance footage could prove his innocence.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang reprimanded Chen, saying that the lawmaker's behaviour was "inappropriate" while noting that it is a good thing Chen apologised over the incident in public. Su added that the DPP legislative caucus will figure out a resolution to deal with the lawmaker.

The DPP caucus is scheduled to hold a meeting on May 9 to discuss how to handle the matter, opposition spokesman Lin Chun-hsien said.

MOI on Political Donations

Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen yesterday during an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan said that anyone who wishes to fund a political campaign shall be regulated in accordance with the Political Donations Act.

When asked by lawmakers if Gou's remarks have violated the act, instead of offering a direct answer, Chen said that Gou's campaign has not yet started.

Chen further explained that, according to regulations, an individual cannot donate over NT$300,000 (S$12,450) to a political party or a political group in a single year. The limit for corporate donations to political groups is NT$3 million.

Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Wu Yu-sheng argued that the recent "Appendectomy Project" - a fundraising event to recall KMT lawmakers Alex Tsai, Lin Hung-chih and Wu - has violated the Political Donations Act.

The fundraising event has reportedly raised over NT$10 million in two days.

In response, the minister said that if a group - one that is not registered as a political group - fundraises for a political cause, then the act has violated the Political Donations Act.

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