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A Series of Pork-barreling Measures Passes Congress

Posted October. 30, 2002 22:36,   


There is mounting concern that the political sector is engaged in pork-barreling with votes in mind, causing unfair distribution of budget.

Even worse, politicians swayed by group egoism are pushing ahead with a bill that justifies illegal behaviors, and some bill have been put on the shelf due to conflicting issues of parties concerned.

The National Assembly`s Committee for Construction and Transportation held a general meeting yesterday and passed a special act on specific buildings. The act will provide immunity for those who illegally extended their buildings for a limited period of time.

The act was initially devised to benefit the working class, but the benefit is expected to go to well-off residences in southern Seoul, eclipsing the original purpose of the act.

The parliamentary Committee for Agriculture, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries passed a bill that significantly reduces interest on debts of farmers and fishermen. The measure to reduce the debt burden on farmers and fishermen has been a frequent election pledge, but the Ministry of Planning and Budget expresses reluctance because the measure will make it difficult to raise fund.

The Commission for National Defense plans to pass a revised bill of military pension fund, which will raise pension for retired military personnel.

The Ministry of Planning and Budget is worried about the passage of the bill since the bill would force them to raise pension for public officials in light of fairness, triggering the exhaustion of pension funds.

In the subcommittee of the Committee for Finance and Economy, lawmakers demanded that the government should exempt credit unions injected with more than 2 trillion won in public fund from paying the allotment of public fund.

The Committee for Culture and Tourism shelved a bill that upgrades the status of the Council of Sports For All from private organizations to special corporations facing the opposition from the Korea Sports Council.

The Korea Sports Council opposes the bill saying that if the bill is passed, the sports community will be divided since the Council of Sports For All is empowered to conduct independent projects with the national subsidies.

The Committee for Education has also postponed the deliberation of a couple of bills for fear of the conflict between interest groups.

A high-ranking official of the Ministry of Planning and Budget said that a number of pork-barrelling measures are bringing up the amount of budget.

Young-Hae Choi Yong-Gwan Jung yhchoi65@donga.com yongari@donga.com