3-stage price hike was Ma’s idea: speaker

By Grace Soong, The China Post

The China Post–President Ma Ying-jeou is the one who made the intelligent decision of adjusting the full electricity price rise to a three-stage rise, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said yesterday, brushing off recent public speculation that it was he and Vice President-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) who came up with the idea of making the price rise in stages. While the public believes that Wang played a key role in suggesting to Ma the adjustment of the electricity price rise, Wu was recently said to be trying to take credit for suggesting so. Wu clarified in an interview on Monday that Ma had long had the three-stage price rise policy in mind, and all that he himself did was to relate the information to Wang so Wang could push for it in the Legislative Yuan. Wang testified to Wu’s statement yesterday morning when questioned by the media. It was at a luncheon with Wu on April 29 that the two realized they held the same opinion on the electricity price hike. Because Wu could not take part in the five-member meeting with the president the following day, it was up to Wang to relate the advice to Ma. Ultimately, though, Ma was the one who had the final say on the matter: “The president needs to listen to lots of advice every day and make decisions based on different opinions.” There is no first or second in giving advice or taking credit for providing the president with advice, Wang concluded. Ma for Second Term of KMT Chairman? Rumor has it that Ma has made up his mind to run for a second term of chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT). Wang commented yesterday that although he has not heard such news, he would definitely support Ma’s decision were he to run for a second term. Following a local newspaper report that members of the KMT suggested against the president holding a concurrent post as KMT chairman at last week’s KMT central standing committee, latest rumors have it that Ma has decided to run for another term of the KMT chairmanship. Wang said yesterday that he would definitely support Ma were he to run.

Commenting on rumors of a potential amendment to the KMT’s party constitution that when future KMT members become the nation’s president, they would unconditionally become the KMT chairman, Wang said he would “respect” and “support” the party’s decision. KMT Culture and Communications Committee (文傳會) Chairman Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲) clarified yesterday that because the KMT will not hold a nation-wide representative meeting this year, which is a requirement for amendments to the party constitution, the rumor of the potential amendment is just a rumor.