Sat, Apr 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Ma seeks public opinions via his Facebook page

LIKE/DISLIKE:Ma asked people to express their thoughts on the planned Kuokuang plant, saying he needed more information and opinions on the issue

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Members of a national youth alliance against the construction of the Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co plant in Changhua County hold up signs during a press conference outside the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

With debate over the Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co project deadlocked, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday made another attempt to seek public consensus on the matter by inviting Internet users to share their opinions on his Facebook page.

In a video posted yesterday morning, Ma said there were no easy answers on whether the facility should be built and that opinions from different sectors of society should be taken into consideration before the government makes a final decision.

“The issue has raised public concerns and we must take it seriously. In addition to reference material, I need to obtain more information and opinions during the decisionmaking process. I encourage you all to express your opinions on the issue,” Ma said.

Ma attended a protest against the planned construction of the oil refinery in Chuanghua County on Sunday and made a private visit to wetlands in the county on Monday to discuss the matter with local residents.

“What local people think about the issue is very important because the site is where their homes will be for decades. The government should not and will not ignore their voices,” he said.

During his visit to the planned site of the complex on Sunday, angry protesters prevented Ma from delivering a speech after he refused to sign a letter promising he would oppose the project.

He was confronted with more protests on Monday when visiting the wetlands.

Ma shrugged off the protest yesterday, adding that the purpose of his visits to the county was to listen to people who oppose the project.

The Ma administration planned to build the oil refinery on reclaimed land near the mouth of the Jhuoshuei River (濁水溪) in Dacheng Township (大城), Chuanghua County, and the decision sparked environmental concerns as the site is in the country’s -second-largest wetlands.

Amid growing protests from local residents and environmentalists against the construction of the plant at the Chuanghua County site, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said it was looking for possible overseas sites to house the planned complex.

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