At the National Assembly Tuesday, lawmakers
questioned members of President Park’s Cabinet about two recent issues of contention, the
government’s down-sized pension plan and a justice ministry investigation into the nation’s
top prosecutor. Kim Yeon-ji reports. At the emergency hearing
Tuesday, lawmakers focused on what prompted the justice minister to order an unprecedented
investigation into the nation’s top prosecutor, which led to the resignation of Prosecutor
General Chae Dong-wook. The Chosun Ilbo daily published in early September
allegations that Chae had a son out of wedlock. Ruling party lawmakers argued an investigation
by the justice ministry was necessary, calling it an ethical issue. “Why is the Democratic Party protecting Chae
Dong-wook, whose ethics were seriously challenged? Isn’t it because he conducted investigations
in the way the opposition party wants?” Opposition lawmakers fired back, pointing
the finger at the government, claiming that Chae was targeted for political reasons for
the way he pursued certain cases that shed a poor light on the current administration. “This case is not about whether Chae had a
son out of wedlock. This is a war between the government and the prosecution, the very
first in history.” Lawmakers also clashed on the government’s
new basic pension plan. Before the December presidential election,
President Park Geun-hye pledged to give all seniors aged 65 and above 186 U.S. dollars
every month. But last week, the government announced that
only seniors in the lower 70 percent income bracket would be eligible to receive the maximum.
And 10 percent of those eligible for the subsidy will receive as little as 93 dollars, depending
on how long they have contributed to the national pension system.
Opposition lawmakers called the change a major backtrack on a campaign pledge.
But ruling party lawmakers defended the government’s decision, saying the new plan is designed
to help the seniors who are most in need. “Opposition lawmakers argue that the government’s
plan discriminates against long-term national pension subscribers by giving them less money
in basic pension payouts compared to others. But ruling party lawmakers stress that linking
the two pensions will not result in losses of individual deposits into the national pension
program.” Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.