Thu, Mar 07, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear Power Debate: Ma has hidden agenda: Lu

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

There appears to be a hidden agenda or secret influence behind President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) handling of the controversy over the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant and the granting of medical parole to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said yesterday.

Lu said collusion between politicians and businesspeople behind hundreds of construction contracts could be why Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have insisted on the completion of the power plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City (新北市).

“If construction was suspended and the dispute ended in a lawsuit, the collusion could be revealed in court and make Ma look bad,” Lu said.

Additionally, Ma and Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) position on the matter showed a conflict of interest, Lu said. This was because they maintained that nuclear safety would be the priority issue, which suggested that they have safety concerns about the power plant, but they still insisted on completing the construction.

“It’s ironic that you are aware something is not right about the project, but you refuse to suspend it,” Lu said.

She added that she had come to her conclusion after long deliberation, because “there could be no other explanation for Ma choosing to ignore the mainstream public opinion on both issues.”

Lu said that she was not sure if the campaign calling for medical parole for Chen would be able to change Ma’s mind, but she was released from prison as a political prisoner in 1985 with the help of a similar postcard-sending drive launched by Amnesty International.

Ma, who served as then-president Chiang Ching-kuo’s (蔣經國) secretary, also played a role in arranging a meeting between herself and New York University professor Jerome Cohen, Lu said.

“President Ma, you can lend a helping hand once again,” Lu said.

Citing private information obtained from a high-ranking KMT official, Lu said Ma refused to grant Chen medical parole because it “could further jeopardize his dismal approval ratings.”

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