Opposition parties to jointly propose parliamentary probe into hiring scandal
SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- Opposition parties will submit a joint motion calling for a parliamentary investigation into alleged nepotism at public corporations, the main opposition party's floor leader said Monday.
Opposition lawmakers have claimed that public corporations, including Seoul Metro, which is run by the city government, have given unfair hiring favors to relatives of current and former employees in what the media dubbed "hereditary succession of jobs."
Rep. Kim Sung-tae, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), said that his party will join hands with the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party and the Party for Democracy and Peace to introduce a proposal to launch a parliamentary probe into the scandal.
Rep. Chang Byoung-wan, floor leader of the Party for Democracy and Peace, also said the party agreed with the LKP and the Bareunmirae Party to introduce a parliamentary investigation proposal, calling the problem "very serious."
"It has been revealed that hiring corruption, including 'hereditary succession of employment,' is serious at public corporations," Chang said. "It's a very serious (problem) that there is hiring corruption at public corporations at a time when the youth unemployment rate reaches nearly 10 percent."
Chang added, however, that the party will make sure the proposed probe won't be politicized.
LKP leader Kim Byong-joon said the revealed cases of unfair hiring would only be "the tip of an iceberg."
"There must be distortions across the public sector," he said during a party meeting.
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) accused opposition parties of politicizing the issue with irresponsible, groundless allegations.
"Conservative opposition parties have been raising hiring suspicions at public corporations every day, but this must be based on thorough confirmation of facts," Rep. Hong Young-pyo, floor leader of the party said, adding that some of the allegations have been proven false.
"We have to deal sternly with hiring corruption," Hong said. "But we should not inflate, distort or exaggerate non-existent facts."
Later in the day, the floor leaders of the DP and the two major opposition parties held a closed-door meeting to discuss the potential probe, but failed to narrow their differences.
"As a parliamentary audit is under way, we've decided to discuss the issue if needed after the result of the audit comes out," Hong told reporters. "Opposition parties will be able to raise this issue during the audit and if really needed, the DP has the willingness to accept it."
Kim Sung-tae, the LKP's floor leader, called on the DP not to hesitate to respond to the parties' request.
"There is no reason for the DP to drag its feet, given the need to investigate hiring irregularities and the practice of succession of jobs," he said.
"The three parties submitted the motion and fully explained the need for the probe to the ruling party," said Kim Kwan-young, the floor leader of the Bareunmirae Party. "We will persuade the DP to join it as the move is aimed at correcting what went wrong."
Source: Yonhap News Agency