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Public agencies rush to send staff to pres. transition committee

Public agencies rush to send staff to pres. transition committee

Posted December. 21, 2012 21:41,   


The country`s government and public sector has grown agitated ahead of the imminent launch of the transition committee for President-elect Park Geun-hye. Ministries are paying keen attention to how many and who will be assigned to the body.

Certain ranking officials are pushing to seek connections with aides to Park behind the scenes to gain the upper hand in the expected government reshuffle under the next administration.

Ministries to bear the brunt of implementing Park’s election pledges are planning to elevate their profiles in the next government by expanding their presence in the transition committee.

○‘Send as many staff to the transition committee’

Agencies with the most attention to the composition of the transition committee are ministries that stand a high chance of undergoing an organizational reshuffle. The Knowledge Economy Ministry, which will likely be split into ministries of science and technology, information and telecommunication, and small and medium business administration, plans to ask the committee not to place barriers between industrial sectors in the “industrial convergence era.”

Internally preparing a debriefing report for the committee, the Knowledge Economy Ministry has reportedly prepared a slide presentation that explains in detail why the ministry should be left intact. High hopes are being pinned on ruling Saenuri Party Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, a former knowledge economy minister who is a key aide to President-elect Park.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry is also highly vigilant over how its organization will be affected due to the proposed establishment of a “Future and Creative Science Ministry.”

A ministry source said, “Because the science field is divided, the higher education field could also be split off as well,” adding, “Depending on who will be assigned to the transition committee, we could have different results.”

The Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry, which oversees diverse fields such as housing, construction, transportation, logistics and ports, has high expectations of sending as many officials to the committee as possible.

A government source said “If agencies participate in the implementation of the president-elect’s campaign pledges, including an organizational reshuffle, they can make the results favorable to them. Hence, ministries like to send as many officials to the presidential transition committee as possible.”

○‘Highly cautious’ in moves

The Fair Trade Commission expects to play a major role in the transition committee, as the president-elect picked economic democratization as one of her key policies. A ban on circular cross-subsidiary shareholdings and the introduction of a punitive damage system, class-action lawsuit and intermediary financial holding companies are all in the realm of the commission’s work.

A source at the fair trade watchdog said, “The Fair Trade Commission will draw more attention than in previous presidential transitions,” adding, “But if we move aggressively, we could be subject to criticism by the transition committee, so we remain cautious.”

The prosecution, which is facing far-reaching reform, is also on high alert about the composition of the transition committee, but has refrained from taking proactive moves. This is because of the judgment that if the prosecution, which is a reform target, moves to build connections with the new administration, harsher public criticism could ensue.

With public-sector agencies scrambling to secure organizational interests, both government insiders and outsiders say the transition committee should block out lobbying and influence peddling, and instead focus on devising policies for the next government.

A ranking official who participated in the transition committee for the outgoing Lee Myung-bak administration five years ago said, “The transition committee is not a body that assembles the opinions of interest groups,” adding “It should refrain from abruptly changing policy orientation and thus confusing the public.”