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MOI denies leaking polling data on local security performance

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) yesterday said that neither the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) nor the National Police Agency (NPA) had officially announced the approval ratings of the public security performances across all local governments.

Lee's remark came after local media reported that the NPA made the opinion poll results public, with Taichung City earning the lowest approval rating of 63.95 percent and the highest disapproval rating of 35.77 percent among all cities in the country.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said he did not understand how the government would disclose the survey to public. “Over the past three years, the MOI offered this information to all local governments, but told us do not disclose the information.”

Hu said that each local government contends with different circumstances, and comparing different local government performances on maintaining public security is like comparing oranges with apples. “A city should look at itself, and see if it has improved or not,” he added.

The mayor went on to say that if the government intended to reveal the information, “then at least the government should also tell us where to improve.”

The NPA said it commissions a survey company to conduct approval rating polls on the issue of public security every three months, but made clear that the results are confidential, and denied that the NPA had ever disclosed such data.

Lee also denied allegations that the information was leaked to the public, noting that the MOI is still trying to figure out how the results came out.

Such approval ratings are always considered confidential information, and only the central and local governments are permitted to retrieve the data, Lee said.

The minister said the MOI had offered the survey results to the Legislative Yuan's Internal Administration Committee under its request, but claimed that the MOI had told the legislators that the information was confidential.

When asked by local media to explain the disclosure and if the MOI had told everyone not to disclose the data, Lee responded, “Go ask the media reporters,” and said that the MOI was surprised by the incident.

Lee said that the reason the MOI choose not to announce the results to the public is because it does not want to encourage competition among city governments.

The minister said he respects Hu's comments on this matter, noting that it is the duty of the NPA and local police departments to maintain public order.

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