Golf outing by MB, aides tees off Roh loyalists in DP

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Golf outing by MB, aides tees off Roh loyalists in DP

A controversy has flared over former President Lee Myung-bak’s round of golf with former senior aides on the anniversary of his predecessor’s death.

After Lee played golf at a country club in Geoje, South Gyeongsang, on Thursday and Friday, the Democrats, particularly those loyal to late President Roh Moo-hyun, issued statements criticizing him as insensitive.

Thursday was the fourth anniversary of Roh’s death. A little more than a year after his term ended, the former president committed suicide amid a widening bribery investigation of his family and aides. Roh loyalists blamed Lee for Roh’s suicide because the probe occurred during his presidency.

“Thursday was the fourth anniversary of Roh’s death,” said Representative Bae Jae-jeung, spokeswoman of the largest opposition party. “Politicians from the ruling and opposition parties, as well as government officials and thousands of the people, visited his grave in the Bongha Village [in South Gyeongsang] and mourned his death.”

She criticized Lee and his entourage for playing golf at a country club in Geoje, not far from Roh’s grave in Bongha. “Lee had driven Roh to death,” Bae said. “And Lee once again drove a nail into the people’s hearts.”

While the Democrats expressed their anger, conservatives said they had gone gone too far.

“It’s like criticizing a neighbor for playing golf on my parents’ death anniversary,” said Cho Jeon-hyeok, former Saenuri Party lawmaker and economics professor at Incheon National University. “Is Roh’s death anniversary the Memorial Day of the nation? You need to devote only yourself to your religion. Don’t force it on others. If you go too far, you deserve criticism.”

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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