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Former health minister to bid for KMT's presidential nomination

Former health minister to bid for KMT's presidential nomination

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) Former Health Minister Yaung Chih-liang announced Wednesday that he will compete in the ruling Kuomintang's (KMT) presidential primary, a decision his friends said was meant mainly to highlight the issues that are close to his heart. Yaung, an outspoken college professor, has already taken aim at the rules laid out for the KMT's primary, saying that the required deposit of NT$2 million (US$64,453) and "operation fee" of NT$7 million were "ridiculously high." "I'm only going to get the registration form, which requires a payment of NT$200,000, the equivalent of two months' salary for a professor and six months' income for a young person," he told Storm Media in an exclusive interview. "You cannot say I'm not serious about running in the primary," he added. Yaung called on members of the public to donate NT$100 each to the KMT to help fund his primary bid. He needs an additional NT$1.8 million to get his name on the list of KMT nominees in primary, he said, adding that he would donate any surplus funds to charity. Yaung said if he passes the first threshold in the process, he definitely will not put up the NT$7 million "operation fee" because the KMT is a "well-do-do party that is supposed to give the people a chance to elect competent members to public office." "What kind of future is there for a political party that erects such high barriers to block its own members from running for public office?" Yaung said. He said that in Taiwan, top-notch people will not join the government service, the best talents have gone abroad, and young and middle-aged people are trying to emigrate. These three "odd phenomena" are what spurred him to throw his hat in the ring, Yaung said. He said he has written three books on major issues facing Taiwan and has urged the government to focus on building a country in which the elderly are well cared for and the younger generation is well educated. In the interview, Yaung said that despite his urgings, all of the country's leading politicians, in both the pan-blue and pan-green camps, have chosen to ignore his suggestions and have been focused instead on their "populist agendas." This situation has forced him to make a bidfor the top office in the nation, he said. Yaung, who resigned as health minister three years ago, said his campaign will focus on the need for a change of Taiwan's political culture, including that of the ruling KMT. "Yes, I intend to use my campaign to back the KMT into a corner," he said. Yeh Chin-chuan, another KMT former minister of health and a good friend of Yaung's, said he can understand why Yaung has decided to compete in the primary. Yeh suggested that Yaung form a party of like-minded people -- "blindly optimistic but courageous." Another former colleague and close friend, Professor Chiang Tung-liang of National Taiwan University's College of Public Health, said Yaung was seeking to run for president out of a Robin Hood sense of justice. "When you see widespread injustice, you want to come forward to right the wrongs," Chiang said. Hung Hsiu-chu, deputy speaker of the Legislature who has registered to run for KMT nomination, lauded Yaung as a respectable rival who is honest and candid -- to the point of being foolish.
Hung, also a KMT vice chairman, has put up the NT$2 million deposit to register for the party's primary. She said Yaung's protest was right as she also thinks NT$2 million for registration is "a bit too high." (By Chen Ching-fang, Tseng Ying-yu and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-09-28 09:40 GMT+08:00