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Presidential Transition Committee Inundated in Demands of Interest Groups

Presidential Transition Committee Inundated in Demands of Interest Groups

Posted January. 16, 2003 23:31,   


The Presidential Transition Committee verifies that, as of yesterday, a total of 8,200 policy proposals have been filed with its subcommittee "Citizens` Proposal Center." The subcommittee`s member Chun Ho-sun confirms, "Even before the proposal center opened, about 40 proposals were stocked up already. After its launching, we receive an average of 1,200 proposals every day."

Various interest groups have vigorously participated in order to "consolidate" the campaign promises of Roh or policies of the committee favorable to them.

20 groups representing the handicapped people including the Korea Association of Person with Physical Disabilities (APPD) say in one voice, "We will pitch in our best to guarantee more equality for the people with disabilities. For that purpose, we will form a council to empower our demand."

It is part of their efforts to secure a better vantage point. They would not settle for the promised enactment of 5 laws prohibiting discrimination on disabilities, as reported by the National Human Rights Commission to the transition committee. APPD`s spokesperson Lee Inn-young said, "This time, we sincerely hope those laws be passed through The National Assembly. To show our determination, we will deliver our proposal to the transition committee on January 20th."

The Private University Professors` Association officially requested yesterday that the transition committee should legalize its entity. The request came only three days after Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development promised to the committee to legalize its counterpart, the National University Professors` Association in a briefing.

On the other hand, a growing number of people are opposing the current moves of the committee and its efforts to honor Mr. Roh`s campaign promises.

The Korean Bar Association issued its statement clarifying its opposition to institutionalization of the special counsel system and establishment of a special body in charge of investigating malfeasance. The KBA will reportedly hand over a demand letter to the committee, which describes its opposition in detail.

The National Federation of Farmers convened a meeting on Tuesday at the headquarters of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in Seoul. In the meeting, its members agreed to ignore the free trade agreement between South Korea and Chile, and to recommend as the next Minister of Agriculture and Forestry someone who will speak and work for farmers. After holding public hearings, the farmers` federation will submit its detailed demand to the transition committee.

Ewha Women`s University`s professor of administration Kim Suk-jun worries about the recent activities of interest groups, saying, "The government is supposed to coordinate and incorporate various voices into policies. If the government fails to do so and just accepts the demands of the interest groups, it will find itself in hot water, ending up increasing confrontation."

He added, "Unknowingly, people may take sides as shown in the conflict between the police and the prosecution over the authority to conduct investigation. Furthermore, if a group`s demand is not reflected in the policy, its members may feel isolated and abandoned."

Secretary General Lee Dae-young of Citizens` Coalition for Economic Justice opined, "After the doctors` strike in 2000, more and more interest groups are pushing the envelope to get their goals achieved." He pleaded, "Now, we are in a transition period. The groups should not cross the line in voicing their opinions and should not hurt the interest of the public."

Sun-Woo Kim sublime@donga.com