Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Presidential library plan torpedoed by ‘questions’

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

After political commentators suggested that irregularities might have clouded a plan by the Lee Teng-hui Foundation to build a library honoring former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in concert with the New Taipei City Government as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, the foundation yesterday said that it would halt the project immediately.

“Recently, there have been questions in society surrounding the BOT case, misleading the public that the project — which was originally aimed at enhancing public welfare — is for political gains,” foundation policy research department director Hung Pu-chao (洪浦釗) told reporters who gathered outside the foundation’s headquarters in New Taipei City, where its board of directors held a meeting yesterday afternoon.

“Such criticism has twisted our original purpose of enhancing public welfare, and is unfair to the New Taipei City Government. The board therefore decided to call it off,” Hung said.

Hung was referring to comments made by some political commentators and media reports that New Taipei City Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman and Eric Chu (朱立倫) might have been trying to gain Lee’s support by helping the project, including by allowing the foundation to pay an annual rent of only NT$1 during the four years that construction was expected to require.

The foundation issued a statement saying that, since Tamsui District (淡水) is Lee’s hometown, the foundation proposed building a library and a museum about Lee’s life and the democratization of Taiwan under his administration on a plot of land belonging to the city government.

“However, recently, certain media outlets have mistakenly accused the transparent process of the project of being opaque, and hinted that the project is politically motivated,” the statement said. “Responding to the criticism, Lee said that what he cares is the development of democracy, not whether the process is remembered, and therefore decided that the library does not have to be built.”

The foundation also apologized to supporters, donors and those who have helped, adding that the foundation would try to find another way to build the library if possible.

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