Assembly inspections a bother to businesspeople
The National Assembly is performing a 21-day inspection of 672 government offices starting Tuesday, and figures being summoned from business circles aren’t happy about it.
According to the Korea Employers Federation, the number of businesspeople summoned to the National Assembly as witnesses in the annual inspections is on the rise. The number was 105 in 2011, which increased to 176 in 2012 and 200 last year.
The total number for this year has not been tabulated. But witnesses for the audits include such bigwigs as Hyundai Motor Chung Chairman Mong-koo, SK Energy CEO Park Bong-kyun, Lotte Home Shopping CEO Kang Hyeon-gu, GS Caltex CEO Kim Byung-ryeol and Home&Shopping CEO Kang Nam-hun,
Also, the CEOs of each mobile carrier were requested to appear to the National Assembly. In case of LG U+, the country’s third largest mobile carrier, the CEO was summoned because of a patent dispute case that was already ruled on by the Supreme Court.
Foreign companies are not exempted. IKEA Korea’s executive director Kim Han-jin was summoned. Officials from 11 multinational pharmaceutical firms were also summoned.
In some cases, businessmen summoned don’t really know why.
“When we said a case had nothing to do with our company, we were told we had no choice because a lawmaker said so,” said an official of a logistics company.
Korea Inc. is exasperated with the outdated idea of National Assembly inspection, especially when they are struggling in both domestic and foreign markets.
“I’m already spending all of my time on piles of economic issues, and the National Assembly, which hasn’t passed a bill for the last five month, is only calling in businessmen,” complained Lee Dong-eung, executive director of the Korea Employers Federation.
Samsung Electronics Service CEO Park Sang-bum had to wait for two hours to be questioned at an inspection of the Fair Trade Commission in October last year. He was there because of an issue related to illegal dispatch of workers, but then lawmaker Kim Gi-Juhn of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy suddenly asked an unrelated question. Kim tried to give an answer to the question, but he was interrupted in only 10 seconds. Park had three similar experiences last year.
Companies are complaining that such meaningless summons cause them time, trouble and even money. A vice president of a finance company said the questioning only take up a few minutes for lawmakers, but it takes longer than a month for companies to prepare.
By KIM HYUN-YE AND CHAE YOON-KYUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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