Lawmakers Blame Government Inaction

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Lawmakers Blame Government Inaction

Ruling and opposition party lawmakers shared a sense of alarm about the nation's economy as they grilled policymakers in an interpellation session in the National Assembly on Thursday.

The lawmakers berated the government for its reluctance to acknowledge declining economic indicators and its lack of transparency in determining the fate of ailing companies, such as Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co.

They also asked what the government plans to do about the growing unemployment rolls, expected to reach 1 million by the end of this year.

Representative Kim Min-seok of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and Representative Han Seung-soo of the Democratic People's Party warned of a national crisis.They decried the government's lack of action, saying the nation could face serious political instability and chronic economic recession in the future.

"The affairs of state are in disarray, which makes real the public concern that a second financial crisis will occur," Representative Huh Tae-yeol of the main opposition Grand National Party said.

Lawmakers from both camps expressed grave concern over the liquidity crisis at Hyundai Construction and Engineering Co.

"The resolution of Hyundai Construction's liquidity crisis will serve as a precedent for other ailing companies in the future," Representative Kim Keun-tae said.

But the two parties differed in their assessments of the decline of the construction company.

"The government should be held accountable for the decline of Hyundai, as it asked the group to lead investment in North Korea," said opposition party Representative Baek Seung-hong.

The opposition also charged that the government may have colluded with the Hyundai Group, citing that the demise of the company had been postponed five times since May.

Lawmakers slammed the government's underestimation of the economic turmoil on the horizon.

"The financial markets have been signalling decline, but the (government's) economic team has consistently responded by saying that the macro-indicators showed otherwise," said Representative Kim Min-seok of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party. The two camps bickered again over the controversial remark made by opposition lawmaker Kim Yong-kap Tuesday, but the partisan row did not stop the session.

by Choi Sang-yeon

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