[Outlook]A new vision

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[Outlook]A new vision

The New Year has come, and many things are expected to change with a new administration taking office. What people want most is probably to correct irregularities on many issues. They may include opening press rooms in government offices and defusing “tax bombs.”
But the core issue is to establish law and order and to do things according to ordinary procedures. Even when a leader thinks he is right, he should not be stubborn. Instead, he must listen to people who have different opinions and interests and try to compromise with them.
The new administration must respect and abide by the law and regulations. For instance, during the presidential campaign late last year, the prosecutors’ office started an investigation into the BBK scandal.
Many lawmakers paid visits to the office in an attempt to wield influence. That is clearly against the principle of the separation of powers.
After the investigation result was publicized the United New Democratic Party immediately proposed a bill to impeach the prosecutors. Instead, they should have followed the right procedure, such as by filing an appeal.
It was an ill-advised act, for a political party that has many veteran politicians, including a former prime minister and former ministers.
Second, authority must be restored. The participatory administration succeeded in abolishing authoritarianism but at the same time, it made the mistake of getting rid of authority as well. Sometimes unqualified people were appointed for high government posts so the authority of the positions was degraded.
They were even given medals after leaving office. Medals are supposed to be given to those who have made a contribution to the country, but incompetent officials also received medals. As a result, the value of the medals was also diminished.
High government officials need authority to carry out their duties. The new administration should hire appropriate, qualified people to be high government officials so as to restore authority.
Lastly, the new administration must present a clear vision for the country’s future. For the past couple of years, people have had a hard time.
This was in part because the present times are hard, but mostly it was because the prospects for the future were uncertain. People are living in the present but they have expectations for the future and want leaders to show the way.
The new administration should be careful not to overlook the importance of presenting a vision for the future, while putting too much emphasis on being practical. Unfortunately, the formation of the presidential transition team seems to carry this risk.
Science and technology is very important in an era of unlimited competition but this field was not taken into account seriously in the composition of the transition team.
A task force to build a Science and Business belt is part of a special committee to boost the country’s competitiveness. But building such a belt will not guarantee that our country will become competitive.
What’s more important is to find ways to boost the efficiency of state projects for research and development, which consume more than 10 billion won ($10.7 million) of the state’s money annually.
But the presidential transition team does not have experts in this area. Some government officials are appointed as experts on the team, but no one from the Ministry of Science and Technology was hired. So many express worries about whether the transition team will come up with good measures.
A plan with concrete details to achieve specific goals should be presented to show people a vision for the future.
But the year 2008 has broken in a new atmosphere. This year, the law shall be abided by in the country and authority shall be respected to the appropriate degree even though authoritarianism has been abolished. At the same time, investment should be revitalized in order to create a vision for the future.

*The new administration must present a clear vision for the country’s future.

by Oh Se-jung

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