| The National Assembly`s Political Affairs Committee plans to start discussing the legislation of a pending anti-corruption bill in the wake of the April 16 deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol. The committee`s secretary from the ruling and main opposition parties said Wednesday that they agreed to hold a legislation subcommittee meeting on Friday to deliberate the so-called "Kim Young-ran bill."
The ruling Saenuri Party`s acceptance of the original bill will likely add momentum to the parliament`s passing of the bill in June. The ruling party had been insisting on passing the administration`s revised proposal, while the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy supported the bill in its original form. Saenuri`s floor leader Lee Wan-koo said on a radio talk show Wednesday that the bill should be passed in the original form. Kim Yong-tae, the ruling party`s secretary for the parliamentary Political Affairs Committee, also said that the party will pass the bill in June, regardless whether it is the original proposal or the opposition party`s proposal.
Under the original bill, public officials who receive money or gifts worth 1 million won (975 U.S. dollars) would be subject to criminal punishment, while the administration`s revised proposal calls for punishing only those who take kickbacks in return for favors and impose fines on the rest. There is a possibility that the standard amount could be lowered during the process of parliamentary deliberation.
The anti-corruption bill was proposed in 2012 by Kim Young-ran, then head of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission. The bill has been pending in the Political Affairs Committee since it passed at a Cabinet meeting in July. Since the ferry disaster, the bill has re-emerged quickly as a means to end collusive links between public servants and businesses.