A question of moralsThe National Assembly is set to wrap up confirmation hearings on new cabinet nominees today.
But many observers remain wary of these candidates for high-level government jobs, claiming they violated laws or engaged in questionable behavior.
Perhaps some of these concerns are unfounded, and others center on minor issues.
But people seeking these types of positions should be held to the highest moral standards, as the responsibilities they have are great.
None of these candidates is free from suspicion, with charges varying from draft dodging and manipulation to tax evasion and the illegal use of official vehicles.
Almost all of them have faked documents related to their place of residence, either to gain profits from real estate speculation or to get their children into better school districts.
Ministers set rules for our society and enforce the law.
How, therefore, can they do their jobs successfully if they’re violating rules and regulations themselves?
President Lee Myung-bak has ordered stricter standards for screening candidates for government posts. But we wonder exactly what standards he is referring to and when the administration plans to apply them. The government should answer these questions.
It cannot escape harsh criticism if it expects the public to accept the potentially illegal behavior of the current crop of nominees while it forms new standards.
Two previous nominees for the prime minister position during the previous administration failed to ascend to the post because of controversies tied to faked residency documents.
The government should abandon its traditional position that faking such documents to reap real estate gains is bad but that doing it to get their kids a better education is O.K. Both are unacceptable.
The key to the issue revolves around ethics and morals. The main question: Did these officials violate the law for personal gains?
The Blue House reportedly discovered all these accusations during its screening process but eventually nominated the candidates anyway. Does the presidential office think it is acceptable as long as opposition parties do not come out against the nominations?
Entering the second half of his term, President Lee created a new pro-working-class slogan tied to building a “fair society.” If the administration still believes candidates’ competence is more important than their moral values, it will not be able to persuade the people to cooperate with what it seeks to achieve.