Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Groundless accusations and lack of manpower to look into them were among reasons lawmakers cited against allegations made via phone calls or emails during the morning session of the 14th National Assembly’s fifth meeting in Hà Nội on May 24.
NA deputies debated pros and cons of a proposal to accept such allegations in addition to traditional ways (in which citizens must either send them to Government agencies in written forms or present them in person) in the draft law on denunciation.
“We must think about whether we can commit a significant amount of manpower to investigate a phone call or an email,” said deputy Trần Văn Mão.
He said the number of valid accusations only amounted to nearly 20 per cent based on statistics collected during the last two years with traditional methods.
Deputy Võ Đình Tín said that while allowing allegations to be made via phone calls or email will make it a lot easier for citizens it may also increase the number of baseless accusations and overwhelm the Government agencies charged with the task of handling them.
“When an accusation is made, there must be an accuser, an accused and a handler. In cases of phone calls and emails, it may be difficult to identify the accuser. In addition, given our current available manpower it will not be feasible for relevant agencies to look into them all,” said Tín.
Other deputies also expressed concerns that making it too easy may even result in anonymous allegations meant only to slander and terrorise the accused.
On the other hand, deputies stressed the importance of making it easy for citizens to report Government officials’ illicit behaviors, especially corruption.
“Hypothetically, if I was aware that a Government official is asking someone for bribes, would it be counter-productive for our anti-corruption effort that my phone calls to report he or she will be ignored?” said Nghệ An Province’s police chief Nguyễn Hữu Cầu.
Cầu said in order to fight corruption effectively, supervision by ordinary citizens and the press is just as important as Government agencies’ internal effort.
He cited the country’s 2005 anti-corruption law which dictates that Government agencies must facilitate the use of phone calls, email and any other forms of communications by citizens to report corrupted officials.
“Even with all that made possible 13 years ago, we are still struggling today in the fight against corruption. Why are we even considering not allowing such methods?”
In regards to the potentially increased workload, Cầu said: “That is why they are getting paid.”
Many deputies voiced their support for Cầu’s argument, saying the Government must take advantage of available technologies to address obstacles, not shy away from challenges.
Deputies Nguyễn Văn Man and Nguyễn Mai Bộ said the draft law on denunciation must detail measures to protect accusers and prevent any hostile actions taken against them even after their accusations were handled.
The draft law on denunciation will have an entire section dedicated to the protection of the identity, job, well-being and families of accusers.
The NA is scheduled to vote on the draft law on June 12.
In the afternoon session, chairman of the NA’s Economic Committee Vũ Hồng Thanh presented a review of the draft amended law on competition.
A number of new regulations in the draft law were said to prevent a market leader (or a number of market leaders) who hold a significant percentage of the market share from using their position to manipulate price and eliminate competition.
For instance, the acquisition of Uber by Grab in Việt Nam. The two ride-hailing, app-based businesses amount to more than 50 per cent of the market share and will have to be reviewed by the Government’s competition authority.
The draft law’s chapter on the definition of market leaders states that a business is considered a market leader when it holds 30 per cent of the market share singlehandedly, when two businesses hold 50 per cent, when three businesses hold 65 per cent, or when four businesses hold 75 per cent. Measures must be taken to prevent them from acting together to manipulate prices as well as supply and demand.
The NA Standing Committee stand is that a business with a deep pocket and too much market power may acquire other businesses to attain its position in the market or even monopoly status, which poses a threat to healthy competition on the market.
The percentage of market share held will be set by the Government and is subject to changes to better suit to the country’s economic development.
The draft law also expand the Government’s jurisdiction to businesses outside of the country, even those without headquarters or offices in Việt Nam, who were found to have engaged in unfair competitive practices that affect the domestic market. — VNS