East Sea dispute, corruption and economic management flagged as national concerns

By Hoang Thuy, Dam Tuan   March 29, 2016 | 06:54 pm GMT+7

National Assembly delegate Vo Thi Dung outlined a host of pressing challenges facing Vietnam in an impassioned speech to the legislature on March 28.

During her speech, Dung detailed what, in her view, were the most pressing issues facing the nation and which should be included in the final report of the incumbent National Assembly. The progress in combating these challenges also needs to be closely monitored and reviewed, she added.

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National Assembly member Vo Thi Dung. Photo: VnExpress

The main external threat, she said, was the territorial ambitions of China in the East Sea. This included claims over the Paracel Islands and Spratly archipelago. Dung said this aggression had continued despite persistent attempts at peaceful dialogue and established international treaties and law.

Dung used the phrase “internal enemy” to describe corruption, which she said had infected almost every aspect of life. The fact that corruption had come to be seen as a necessary part of solving everyday problems was a dangerous way of thinking, she said, and was hampering the nation’s development.

She also feared the moral deterioration of Vietnamese society, with the actions of people being at odds with traditional values and morals. This was not only about violence and theft, but also issues such as food hygiene, greed, selfishness and other social evils.

Another concern she raised was economic management and the resulting sluggish economy. Low levels of labor productivity and the destruction of natural resources were creating a drag on the economy that was leaving Vietnam further and further behind in a creative, rapidly-changing world.

The burden of public debt, for which Dung said a solution was yet to be found, was having a significant impact on the economy and people’s quality of life. The budget deficit caused by overspending seemed to be unstoppable, she added.

This was due in part, she said, to lack of discipline and direction in public management and governance. Poor development and implementation of policies and regulations had weakened the drive towards development.

“People demand the party, the government and state authorities be truly understanding, dedicated and transparent,” Dung told the assembly.

“Society needs to be democratic, disciplined, and peaceful, while traditional values must be maintained and developed sustainably. These are rightful and worthy demands, and therefore all National Assembly activities should be made public for the constituents to watch and monitor,” she said.