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Yeh asks media not to disturb his parents

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Dogged by accusations that he was treated to a lavish banquet for his birthday by a business executive, Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday requested that the media not disturb his parents, explaining that his mother is in poor health.

Visibly upset, the minister said that he was sorry to give his parents' cause for concern.

According to local reports, Yeh's father told reporters that he did not want his son to become minister in the first place, and that he would much rather see his son return to teaching. His father explained that it pained him to see his son being blasted in the media.

Yeh yesterday broke down in tears, saying that he was sorry to worry his parents, and asked the media not to disturb them.

When pressed about the banquet, Yeh said, “Thank you for your concern. I will not be commenting on this again.”

The minister said that the most pressing task at hand is to help alleviate traffic during Chinese New Year, as well as ensuring that the Far Eastern Electronic Toll Collection Co. (遠通電收) does a better job of managing the eTag system.

When asked if traveling on highways will be made completely free of charge during Chinese New Year, Yeh explained that the ministry's hope is to divert traffic from peak hours to off-peak hours, and that making highway usage free around the clock would not be conducive toward that goal; therefore, the ministry has reached a preliminary decision to make highway usage free from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. during Chinese New Year, in order to encourage more motorists to use the highways during off-peak hours.

Accusation, Response

On Thursday, the minister denied that he had been treated to a lavish banquet for his birthday, contrary to what Kuomintang lawmaker Tsai Cheng-yuan (蔡正元) claimed.

Tsai said that Senao International Co. (神腦國際) Chairman Paul Lin (林保雍) had a spread laid out for Yeh, and that Yeh had tried to pressure Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) Chairman Lee Yen-sung (李炎松) into buying shares of Lin's company at a high price.

In response, Yeh explained that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is the largest shareholder of Chunghwa Telecom, and that he has tried to help solve some of the problems between Senao and Chunghwa Telecom.

Chunghwa Telecom owns less than 30 percent of Senao, while Senao is the sole agent of Chunghwa Telecom, the minister pointed out, explaining that he suggested that Chunghwa Telecom increase its shares in Senao for the sake of better corporate governance and to help resolve the standoff between the two firms.

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Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) speaks to reporters, yesterday. After the minister's father told reporters that it pained him to see his son being blasted in the media, the minister asked reporters not to disturb his parents, explaining that his mother is in poor health.

(CNA)

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