Time to undo your mistakeThe heat is on the new head of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Kim Ki-sik over his controversial corporate-sponsored business trips. The conservative opposition camp comprised of the Liberal Korea Party and Bareunmirae Party filed for an investigation by prosecutors after accusing him of bribery and power abuse. A progressive camp made up of the Party for Democracy and Peace and the Justice Party, which are both sympathetic towards the liberal government, also questioned Kim’s excuses and the Blue House’s defense of him.
Kim’s past behaviors invite suspicion and criticism. He was the sponsor of the anti-graft law during his lawmaking term with the last National Assembly. He had gone on overseas trips paid by financial institutions while he had been on the job of drawing up stricter guidelines to prohibit public officials from getting gifts and cash donations from corporations to end shady public-private relationship. Even as he knows the design of the law well, he claims no wrongdoing as he had given no favors in return.
The Blue House has been equally two-faced in defending him. It pays no heed to the critical voices from the media and opposition and maintains that the deeds are not as grave as to cost his job. Such self-righteous ways can paint the presidential office arrogant. It raises questions if partiality had not been at play from the choice of Cho Kuk, the president’s top aide for civil affairs in charge of recruitments, as both had come from the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy.
This is not the first time the president’s controversial choices of senior officials had been challenged. The Blue House came to their defense every time instead of listening to the voice of criticisms. It pressed ahead with the appointment of Minister of SMEs and Startups Hong Jong-haak despite allegations that he had evaded taxes by claiming that he did not break any laws in amassing his wealth. It becomes overly protective and partial to figures on the progressive front. Sticking to its guns in ill-made appointments has always backfired. The presidential office must undo its mistake before causing further mess and confusion.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 11, Page 30