Saenuri leader eyes changing graft bill

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Saenuri leader eyes changing graft bill

The chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party stated on Wednesday that he is willing to augment the recently approved anti-corruption bill or even revise it following discussion at the National Assembly.

Kim Moo-sung, the 63-year-old leader of the ruling party, has remained critical of the bill even before it was passed through parliament last week and previously said that he feared the bill would restrain the economic interests of people.

His view is directly contrary to the position of Kim Young-ran, the former chairwoman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission who first proposed the bill and insisted on Tuesday that eradicating corruption across society would actually boost the economy.

“We will continue our efforts to complement the bill at the National Assembly before it is implemented in October next year,” Chairman Kim said Wednesday at a party meeting.

“I totally agree with former Chairwoman Kim’s idea that those in the public sector must set an example to eradicate the country’s deep-rooted corruption,” he continued. “But opinions on how the law should be applied or its coverage will probably be very different, and we must not ignore worries over the bill’s side effects on the lives of those in the lower income bracket.”

When asked by reporters after the meeting whether complementing the bill would entail creating new ordinances or by even revising the act itself, Kim replied, “We need to do all of them,” indicating that the bill could possibly be revised over the next year and a half.

Kim is known to believe that the bill is not very realistic and to have opposed it because it is expected to have huge economic impact, especially for those in the lower income bracket.

However, the chairman stepped back when Saenuri floor leader Yoo Seung-min acknowledged that he wanted to pass the bill during the plenary session given negotiations with the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD).

Before the act was passed, Kim lamented the fact that a bill that is “possibly unconstitutional is going to be approved due to public opinion,” and confessed he felt uneasy after the vote.

The anti-corruption bill was first proposed in August 2012, and passed on March 3, with 226 of 247 attending lawmakers voting it through. Immediately after its approval, however, the bill was met with controversy.

The Korean Bar Association and Journalists Association of Korea filed a constitutional appeal two days after the act was passed.

BY KIM BONG-MOON, LEE KA-YOUNG [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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