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National Assembly's last Q&A session focuses on social issues Updated: 2017-09-15 04:05:25 KST


There was no let up in the verbal back and forth between rival parties on the last day of the parliament questions session.
Opposition parties went after the government for its poor vetting of candidates for Cabinet posts.
Most recently, the National Assembly adopted a negative assessment of President Moon's nominee for SME and startups minister over his controversial historical views, and now the parties are locking horns over the President's nominee for Supreme Court chief justice.

"How can the Moon Jae-in administration nominate such people? Didn't it say it would rule out people involved in irregularities?"

"We admit there are regrets. We will take into account the voice of the National Assembly."

Another key issue was the government's expensive welfare policies -- which include boosting the national pension for senior citizens as well as hiking the minimum wage for next year.
The opposition said the consequences of the policies, intended or not, need to be carefully calculated.

"The rapid increase in minimum wage has brought with it a lot of criticism. So the government decides to implement a support package. That's not a long-term remedy. How are you planning to handle the costs down the line?

"We will come up with measures within a few weeks. We have the same concerns and we are doing our best to ameliorate them."

Questions also touched on topics of keen interest to ordinary citizens -- the recent contaminated egg scandal, which saw egg sales suspended and led to concerns over food safety.

"There are criticisms that the follow-up measures are not enough."

"Yes. We apologize for the lapse. We will use this as a lesson to boost safety and ease people's fears. We will devote more of our time and effort."

The ruling party also questioned the government about its probe into irregularities under the previous conservative administrations, including a blacklist of prominent cultural figures and artists.
It also asked that alleged misconduct in the past be investigated more actively.

"The tax office has data regarding an amnesty that was offered to those who reported their hidden assets back in 2015. We don't have access to the data, but there are reports saying those involved in the corruption scandal took advantage of this. Don't you think the justice ministry should look thoroughly into this?

"Yes. I have been briefed."

On reforms to public broadcasting, the government recognized the need to guarantee freedom of the press.
There had been concerns among the opposition bloc that the government was trying to take control of the media, but the administration responded that the system will be revised so that the board of directors and even the heads of the broadcasters are not influenced by the top office.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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