The government has come up with a set of measures aimed at making Korea a fairer and more transparent society. The action plans followed up on President Lee Myung-bak’s vision of a fair society unveiled in his Liberation Day speech on Aug. 15 last year.
On Thursday, officials from related ministries briefed Lee on their plans to implement the package. At the meeting, Lee demonstrated his commitment to his vision by saying he would hold such a meeting every month through the rest of the year to check progress and add new tasks.
The package primarily focuses on ensuring all Korean citizens carry out the four basic duties under the Constitution without exemption ― military service, education, labor and tax payment. On top of that, it aims to enhance fairness in such areas as the personnel management of public officials and the relationship between large and smaller firms.
During the Thursday meeting, Lee cited a recent survey that showed 71 percent of Koreans view their society as unfair. He ascribed the widespread negative perception partly to the nation’s rapid industrialization and democratization.
One may add Lee’s strong favoritism in choosing people for high public offices. One key hallmark of a fair society is that the right people are appointed to the right posts regardless of their regional or political backgrounds. But this has not been the case during the past three years under the Lee government.
A recent survey offered evidence. It showed that people from the southeastern part of the country accounted for a far larger share of the high posts at public agencies under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy than people from other regions.
While we commend Lee’s fair society drive, we urge him to reach outside familiar circles in selecting candidates for important posts. This is one way he can be true to his fair society vision. He should practice what he preaches.