[Outlook]Learner drivers

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[Outlook]Learner drivers

The transition team for the 17th president has gone too far. It is supposed to draw an outline of the new administration. It is not an organization to make policies or, more importantly, to implement them.
Nevertheless, the presidential team has worked as if it is a de facto provisional cabinet since it was officially launched on Dec. 26 last year.
Article 7 of the law on the transition of the presidency defines the presidential transition team’s duties as follows:
First, it should figure out the structure and functions of the government and the state budget; second, prepare the basis for the new government’s policies; third, prepare the president’s inauguration ceremony and carry out related works; and forth, carry out other works necessary for the transition of the presidency.
That is all.
There is no legal ground for the transition team to draw, propose, announce or enforce a new policy.
Nevertheless, the transition team seems to be drafting a new policy almost every day, announcing them and working as if it will enforce each new policy immediately. Their policies cover all types of matters from mobile phone fees, and large economic zones to English education in schools.
It seems as if what the transition team says becomes law immediately and if the transition team works on a policy it goes into effect right away. This is, of course, abuse of authority and deception of the people.
The transition team is not the cabinet. It can’t decide on any policy or carry any out, either. The team is a temporary agency to prepare for the presidency. But the transition team is now working as if it is the cabinet. The media also reports what the transition team does without filtering it, so most people think as if the transition team is a powerful agency.
Something is wrong.
The entire country seems lost as it debates English education in schools. The transition team should not have made it such a big issue. It should have stuck to the basic principle that English education should focus on practical usage so that people can communicate in English in this global era.
The transition team should have simply listened to opinions in different sections in society, held public hearings and drawn an outline. Detailed issues such as the supply of English teachers and the romanization of the Korean language are not issues that the transition team should be working on, but for the new administration to do after it is launched. What’s urgent now is to normalize state affairs that have been full of irregularities and extreme measures. The presidential team should be the first step toward a normalization process, so it is not good if the transition team abuses power and makes irregular moves.
The Grand National Party took power again after 10 years. President-elect Lee Myung-bak and the GNP should not underestimate the decade in which they were out of office.
But even if it had the talent and ability to run the country 10 years ago, it hasn’t been behind the wheel for some time and its road sense might be a little rusty.
So if the Lee Myung-bak administration wants to drive Korea, it must go through an extensive checkup. The driver needs to familiarize himself with the wheel, accelerator and break. That is what a transition team is supposed to do.
Instead, it has revved the engine and is slamming the foot down, wasting precious fuel.
That said, the transition team shouldn’t be idling. But it must focus on drawing up an outline and preparing the new administration.
When Kim Young-sam’s civil administration entered office 15 years ago, it drafted a plan called the “100 days plan made in Hyoja-dong.”
The plan included outlines for tearing down a secret house for the president, opening the Blue House to the public, disbanding Hanahoe (a group of military officers) and enforcing a financial system in which real names are used.
These plans were implemented from the day the new administration sat down in the diver’s seat.
It is simple and clear: The transition team prepares policies and the new cabinet executes them.
The transition team for the 17th president is thought to be the hardest working ever.
The team has had just one day off since it was formed. But to work hard isn’t everything. It should know what to do and what not to do.
I hope the transition team can operate with a sense of normalcy.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Chung Jin-hong
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