Toward a cleaner society

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Toward a cleaner society

The government fine-tuned the details of a new anti-graft act referred to as the Kim Young-ran law and completed all necessary procedures to put the controversial law into action starting Sept. 28. Despite much dispute, the law stayed unchanged from the original design and capped the ceiling for free meals at 30,000 won ($27.50), gifts at 50,000 won, and congratulatory and condolence tokens at 100,000 won.

Any public servants, teachers at both private and public schools, media workers as well as their spouses receiving beyond that will face punishment. It has taken four years since its first motion for the toughest anticorruption law yet to see daylight.

Society now must do its part and get fully ready for an entirely new lifestyle required by the new law. It will be the first time for any one in a public-related service to be punished for receiving cash or gifts beyond a certain limit regardless of conditions attached in our society, where appreciative tokens have long been a tradition and norm. Many may be baffled at first. To ease confusion, the guidelines need to be made specific and clearly explained.

The Anti-corruption & Civil Rights Commission’s website has specified manuals on the new law for each group that is affected by the law.

The manual cites specific practices that go against the law. It also publicized the 40,919 institutions — 21,210 kindergartens and schools, and 17,210 online, print, and broadcast media outlets — that have to comply with the law.

Concerned organizations must educate all umbrella offices and workers on the guidelines as well. There must be a channel that addresses questions and problems regarding the law.

The design of the law is to ensure just enforcement of a public job to gain public confidence. The law is not to punish, restrict, or oppress individual or social activities, but to create a cleaner and fairer social norm. It is why individual efforts are important. We would make our society a clean and transparent one solely through our own endeavors.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 7, Page 34
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