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Statement on Park Geun-hye as South Korea’s newly elected president

“Establish an Anti-Corruption Public Awareness Programs and a Governmental Anti-Corruption System”

The presidential candidate Park Geun-Hye has been elected as the 18th president during the election held last December 19, 2012. We sincerely wish that Park Geun-Hye’s new government will prevent corruption issues and/or promote the nation’s Corruption Perceptions Index that keeps on declining every year. In addition, we also look forward to seeing a new Korean government with transparency, integrity, and with lessons learned from the one instigated by the current president Lee Myung-bak.

According to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), among the countries surveyed South Korea ranks 45th this year but was 43rd last year. Some pertinent reasons with regards to the stagnation and decline of CPI scores are the phenomenal abuse of power and indifference in the society. Due to the lack of consciousness on anti-corruption and the absence of anti-corruption policies, the president’s close aide and former chairperson of Korea Communications Commission, Choi Shi Joong; the arrest of the president’s elder brother who was formerly the vice-chairperson of the national assembly; a prosecutor of an investigation agency who got involved in bribery and sexual assault scandals, and the prosecutors’ unlimited power and their bare power struggle have been unfolded before the public’s eyes.

The financial distress of the people aggravated by the administration and leadership’s frigidity to corruption and law evasion practices has turned their anger into cynicism. The major cause of this present situation is the lack of transparent and fair society (and government) that is aware on the absence of anti-corruption political system.

An uncontrollable corruption is like a social cancer if you don’t uphold democracy, keep a fair and healthy market, maintain an integrated society, and don’t secure a sustainable future. We can call it an entrance to genuine advance society if there are no divisive corrupt practices. For a country to truly develop, its economy, society, environment, politics, etc. and all other sectors must achieve balance and security. Based on this perspective, it is perfectly normal and very appropriate that a government put emphasis on ethics, transparency, and trust. The new administration of Park Geun-hye must present a standard anti-corruption blueprint to the public which must be implemented with political will and without fail.

For Park Geun-hye’s government to achieve a transparent society, we propose suitable policies so as to regain people’s confidence and for our society to be truly guided by the new administration’s task on anti-corruption. Such are the following:

  • First, under Section 6 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, an independent anti-corruption state agencies should be reinstalled.
  • Second, an independent investigation bureau that investigates corrupt high-ranking and senior government officials must be secured. In addition, to reduce the abuse of power and the symbiotic relationship among the prosecutors, a reform of the prosecution must be achieved.
  • Third, the publicly exposed practices that take place during the confirmation hearings, such as giving special treatment and high positions to some individuals (nepotism), using the revolving door practices, granting privileges by a junior to a retired senior, parachute courtesies and similar unethical practices, must be overcome by re-establishing the national ethics system.
  • Fourth, a transparent government must advance and ensure the public’s right to information, which can be achieved by facilitating corruption watchdog institutions and upholding the Freedom of Information and Records Management Act.
  • Fifth, a legislation that bans or punishes reciprocity and solicitation practices must be established.
  • Sixth, the government-set (or official) price should be properly regulated (because of price manipulation) and construction standards must be established in order to prevent corruption in public construction projects.
  • Seventh, the corporate anti-corruption laws must be enacted, the public servant whistle blower protection act must be amended, and the corporate sectors’ whistle blowers must be protected.
  • Eight, integrity education must be implemented in both public and private, and all levels in the society.
  • Ninth, the G20 Summit’s “Anti-Corruption Action Plan”, which was adopted to keep pace with the public, businesses and civil society’s collaborative governance, must be restored.

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