Ruling party lawmakers to give up June salary
The ruling Saenuri Party said Thursday it will make sure its lawmakers give their salaries for this month to charity under the "no-work, no-pay" system it has been pushing as part of a package of parliamentary reform measures.
The measure to forfeit salaries when the parliament is out of work is one of six major reform measures the party is seeking to reduce privileges and benefits given to lawmakers and tighten their ethical standards in an effort to woo voters in a presidential election year.
A local newspaper reported earlier the party is unlikely to carry out the measure.
"There is a report that we are not going to implement the no-work, no-pay system, but that will never be the case at all," said Rep. Lee Hahn-koo, floor leader of the party, during a Supreme Council meeting. "Some lawmakers say this is too much, but an absolute majority are in support of it."
Lee said, however, that preparations are needed to carry out the measure, such as calculating how many days of salaries should be given up, saying it depends on when the new National Assembly will open and begin normal operations.
The new 300-member National Assembly, elected in April's general elections, began its four-year term on May 30, but it has not formally opened yet, as the ruling and main opposition parties are locked in a standoff over control of key parliamentary committees.
Rep. Lee Jin-bok, who heads the party's task force team on the no-work, no-pay measure, also said the party will make sure to carry out the measure. The lawmaker said his team will soon hold its first meeting and a public hearing to draw up implementation details.
Unless specific measures are drawn up by the payday on June 20, Lee said the party will seek to have lawmakers entrust their wages with the party's leadership so that they will be handled according to the regulations to be set later, such as donation to charity.
The five other reform measures include scrapping lawmakers' immunity from arrest, reforming their retirement pension, banning lawmakers from concurrently serving in money-making jobs, toughening punishment for violence, and requiring a parliamentary ethics committee to have non-lawmaker members.
By law, those who serve as lawmakers are given a pension of 1.2 million won (US$1,018) each month after they reach the age of 65. This has prompted public perceptions that lawmakers are given too many benefits while the general public is suffering economic difficulties.
Sitting lawmakers are also immune from arrest while the parliament is in session, a privilege that has often come under fire because some legislators have abused the clause to make unfounded allegations or to evade arrest on other charges. (Yonhap)