Parliament fails to adopt hearing report on SMEs minister nominee

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 20, 2017 - 18:06
  • Updated : Nov 20, 2017 - 18:06

A parliamentary committee failed Monday to adopt a report on the outcome of its confirmation hearing on the venture minister nominee due to opposition parties' objections, thereby passing the decision on his fate to President Moon Jae-in.

Under a related law, the committee on industry and trade affairs had to adopt the report by the Monday deadline, but rival parties failed to reach any agreement on the publication for SMEs and Startups Minister designate Hong Jong-haak.

The publication is a key procedure before the president officially appoints the nominee. Without the publication, Moon can press ahead with his appointment, but the move will likely inflame the opposition bloc.

This photo, taken Nov. 10, 2017, shows SMEs and Startups Minister nominee Hong Jong-haak speaking during a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party has called the former economics professor and lawmaker unfit for the post, taking issue with his family's property inheritance and his past controversial remarks.

Opposition lawmakers zeroed in on his wife and daughter's inheritance of property from his mother-in-law, which may not be illegal but contradicts his long-held position against large transfers of wealth among relatives.

Hong was also denounced for past comments that disparaged those who did not graduate from top-tier universities. Further complicating the confirmation process was his past criticism of family-run conglomerates as "cancer cells" that hurt small businesses.

The ruling Democratic Party has pleaded for bipartisan cooperation in approving Moon's latest Cabinet pick, dismissing a flurry of accusations against him as "prejudice and misconceptions."

During the hearing on Nov. 10, Hong pledged to remove onerous regulations, protect small firms from technology extortion and turn them into growth dynamos, but opposition attacks eclipsed his policy vision. (Yonhap)