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[Editorial] Course of Resignation

Posted March. 28, 2005 23:09,   


Kang Dong-suk, minister of Construction and Transportation, resigned amid the nation’s criticism over his alleged involvement of land speculation and his son’s employment. Kang followed suit of former Education Minister Lee Ki-joon, former Finance Minster Lee Hun-jai, and Choi Young-do, the chairman of the National Human Rights commission. Only within this year, as many as four key Cabinet members have left their positions. Interestingly, they went through the same course. Once questions over their morality arise, they make excuses. Despite this, if the suspicions do not subside, they announce their resignations. Finally, the president accepts them. Nations who just watch this course feel very sorry.

Endless questions over the participatory government’s appointment of Cabinet members confirm the suspicion that there may be something wrong in the personnel procedure. Despite the struggle of reforming the personnel system, which even created the position of senior personnel secretary, numerous cases that do not meet the standard for public appointments are recorded in addition to the above key Cabinet members in trouble. How can people expect stable operation of national affairs under such circumstances? People want the government to prove its stress on reform with evidence rather than by mere words.

Given the nation’s increasing expectations of the government officials’ morality, standing behind those who have disappointed will not provide an ultimate solution. However, we need to see the other side of coin. It is also possible that unnecessary adherence to the past wrongdoings may impede the direction of the future, thereby bringing about a chaotic situation into the entire society. To some extent, the current government’s emphasis on the liquidation of the past wrongdoings will lead to a new social atmosphere that stresses finding flaws rather than praising good capabilities. This trend is now returning to the political sphere again (boomerang effect).

Kang’s case is example no. 1. We have to ask first whether his allegation is serious enough to force him to leave office. We have to think twice that if, without considering the uniqueness of the past Korean society practically, we kick out anyone who has a history of wrongdoings, is it desirable for our government and nations? Moreover, the current trend that decides the sentence of questioned officials by public opinions before suspicions is confirmed as a truth is also problematic.

Of course, unfair personnel decisions must be corrected. However, it is improper to ruin the entire foundation, through which capable public officials can operate their public affairs, due to the obsession of revealing facts in the past. We should leave the past behind and move forward in the future in order to create a new social atmosphere that can nurture a man of ability without any difficulties.