The National Assembly always seems to be the target of blame by the general public. But with the inauguration of the 17th National Assembly, the members are better equipped than ever to serve the public. The Korea IT Times met with the chairman of the National Assembly, Kim won-ki to hear about the Assembly's grand plan to adopt IT solutions to enhance the efficiency of its operations.
Q: Public sentiment towards the Assembly seems to be more negative than ever before. The public blames the economic downturn on congressmen and lawmakers saying that they more care about party squabbles than people's welfare or stabilization of the economy. Now, what is your take on the issue
The greatest problem the Assembly faces is that the political squabbles and skirmishes have become so chronic that it does not function properly to serve the public. The public has noticed this situation and started to feel sick and tired of hearing whatever the congressmen had to talk about.
Recently on the opening address of the National Assembly I suggested five promises for the Assembly to carry out. The first one is that we be an integrated Assembly where both major parties get along and cooperate to come up with productive proposals.
Second, I promised that the Assembly will never stop pushing ahead with reform. Third, it will be an autonomous and independent Assembly and fourth, it will begin to actually serve the public by paying more attention to the domestic economy.
And last but not least, it has to continuously pursue reunification and the peace of the nation. If these five objectives are met, I am sure the Assembly will make a huge difference to the lives of ordinary people. We will give our maximum effort to fulfill the promises.
Q: What is the main focus of the reform process that will hasten the development of Assembly toward being a technologically advanced forum
In a nutshell, we will enable the Assembly to be a helpful and efficient organization that benefits the livelihood of the people. We are in the process of constituting the "Working Assembly Committee" that is directly below the chairman. In addition, I decided to create the Task Force team under the National Assembly Secretariat. I expect that these organizations will get lawmakers and congressmen more involved in the latest issues, getting them more active and motivated.
Q: Some people are seriously concerned about morality of politicians or even question the general capability of the Assembly. How would you explain these concerns
In the latest general election on April 15th, we experienced a cleaner election than ever before. A ban on practices of the past such as giving and receiving bribes has been successfully institutionalized so that both voters and delegates did not require or provide bribes. The 17th Assembly members feel proud of their high. Now is the time to reinforce the ethical provisions of each party and keep their members away from corruption. We will run a watchdog committee such as the Assembly Ethics Committee so that it will closely scrutinize every move of the Assembly members in case they take advantage of their privileges.
Also, to elevate the general capability and competitiveness of the Assembly, we concluded that the members ought to keep themselves dedicated and informed. The 17th Assembly members are well aware of the need for a constant exertion, and that is why they have organized 50 in-house private organizations to study current issues in depth. There is even a new atmosphere abroad that implies that politicians who do not strive to improve will fall behind. I want you all to keep watching what I believe is a continually productive reformation and never hesitate to express your concerns to us. Your participation is going to make a huge difference and we always welcome your comments.
Q: How would you describe the present status of IT adoption within Assembly
Compared to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, I admit that the Information Infra of the Assembly is rather falling behind. Thus I have directed the computerization of the network that manages administrative and legislative procedures of the Assembly.
From this term, we will attempt to convert all our paper documentation into an electronic format. With the accumulated database, I expect we can hasten the day when no paper documents are necessary at the Assembly.
Q: Will there be any support from the Assembly to boost the IT industry
Of course the Assembly is fully aware of the significance of IT industry. Korea is a the leading wireless nation that claims over 28.5percent of the world wireless mobile market. The High-speed internet reaches 73percent of all households. Now, to boost the industry even more, administrational support and financial aid are necessary (especially when it comes to developing an information database) to manufacturing related hardware and software.
So, what we are trying to do is, first and foremost, to secure a certain amount of government budget for the IT sector. That money will be spent on developing high technology as well as programs to train IT experts. And of course, we will make sure the budget would be distributed fairly and efficiently.