In­ter­view With Kim Byung Cho On Cor­rup­tion

The Global Digest (English) - - Contents - By Staff Cor­re­spon­dent

Kim Byung Cho is a re­searcher and has been teach­ing Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics at HUFS MIS from 1998 to 2014, be­fore that, he was a pro­fes­sor at Pur­due Univer­sity from 1996 to 1997, and a CPA from 1988 to 1990. He also did mil­i­tary ser­vice in 1987.

First time he went to Myan­mar was in 2011, for a week. In his lat­est visit he went there in Fe­bru­ary 2014 for a part­ner­ship with peo­ple for many projects in Myan­mar, some projects are still in process. He used to con­sult and ad­vice on busi­ness strat­egy, in­vest­ment, mar­ket­ing, manufacturing, dis­tri­bu­tion and so on.

Ac­cord­ing to Kim, Myan­mar needs to cre­ate more elec­tric gen­er­a­tors, hy­dro and coal power, so­lar sys­tem and other such sys­tems. A hy­dro project can take a long time, usu­ally 6-8 years but it has a low manufacturing cost. Also for coal power gen­er­a­tion – sup­ply­ing coal con­tin­u­ously is nec­es­sary, he ex­plained.

Cur­rently, Myan­mar de­pends more on Ja­panese com­pa­nies for its busi­ness part­ner. The Ja­panese have a lot of ex­perts in Yan­gon. For ex­am­ple, they are do­ing projects on ports and many other things. Sim­i­larly, the Chi­nese are in­flu­enc­ing Myan­mar. The Kore­ans are dif­fer­ent from them, Kim ex­plained, Korea isn’t in­ter­ested in con­quer­ing other coun­tries, it is just in­ter­ested in busi­ness. How­ever, the Korean gov­ern­ment doesn’t have any ex­perts in Myan­mar, so there are no big Korean projects be­ing done by pri­vate busi­ness­men, be­cause they are so risky to it. For ex­am­ple, the Sam­sung com­pany asked about in­dus­trial sites but the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment doesn’t want to them to do it from the Myan­mar Gov­ern­ment. The Myan­mar Gov­ern­ment said you can come and do every­thing here by your­self.

The Myan­mar gov­ern­ment hasn’t paid much at­ten­tion to for­eign ex­ports. An­other big prob­lem is cor­rup­tion in Myan­mar. In the case of Korea, cor­rup­tion can im­prove and is change­able, for ex­am­ple, a min­is­ter can’t ask for bribes from busi­ness firms in Korea, but is pos­si­ble in Myan­mar, Kim pointed out. Most de­vel­op­ing coun­tries are do­ing the same thing, for ex­am­ple, Lao, Cam­bo­dia, Viet­nam, In­done­sia, in Africa and South Amer­ica.

They are strug­gling to cre­ate a so­cial se­cu­rity net­work, which is needed to over­come cor­rup­tion, only then can the cor­rup­tion is­sue be solved. In the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment’s view cor­rup­tion is usu­ally ac­cepted and the gov­ern­ment also thinks bribes are not that bad. Be­cause the coun­try can’t pay enough salary to em­ploy­ees, Kim sug­gests all pub­lic worker’s ex­penses should be cov­ered by the gov­ern­ment in or­der to re­duce the bribery sys­tem, thus re­plac­ing the bribery with a tax sys­tem. He also says bribery is pre­paid.

In the case of Korea, Korean min­is­ter’s may not al­lowed to ac­cept bribes from oth­ers, but they do bribe through their close friends. There are 3 kinds of Korean re­la­tion­ships: 1) fam­ily re­la­tion­ship, 2) school­mate re­la­tion­ship, and 3) re­gional based re­la­tion­ship. Th­ese 3 re­la­tions con­tinue for the rest of their lives, Kim con­fessed. Former Pres­i­dent Lee Myung­bak gov­ern­ment’s project cost 35 bil­lion dol­lar (for the 4 rivers project), this money has dis­ap­peared. Lee gov­ern­ment pres­sured his pre­de­ces­sor Roh Moo-hyun about cor­rup­tion, this lead to his sui­cide.

Also the Joongang, Donga Ilbo news are pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­pers, in­stead of re­port­ing cor­rup­tion news they showed North Korean news. Th­ese news agents re­ceived gov­ern­ment sup­port in­di­rectly, such as a per­mit for cable TV by the Lee gov­ern­ment. Kim be­lieves Korean cor­rup­tion can be changed by the av­er­age per­son, be­cause the 50 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion are tired of cor­rup­tion.

In Korea, for the young peo­ple there is an ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem prob­lem. Korean ed­u­ca­tion fo­cuses only on ex­am­i­na­tions and high scores. Stu­dents learn a phi­los­o­phy of only study­ing for ex­ams, be­come less ca­pa­ble and skilled, the bad habit of drink­ing is spread out through the stu­dent

pop­u­la­tion in­clud­ing among women, this is very dis­ap­point­ing to Prof Kim. To im­prove the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, Prof Kim sug­gests to change the ad­mis­sion sys­tem at univer­sity, each univer­sity should se­lect for ad­mis­sion.

Re­duc­ing gov­ern­ment con­trol can give more so­cial en­tity for free­dom, cre­ate stricter leg­is­la­tion and reg­u­la­tion. South Korea has a good ju­di­cial sys­tem but there a lot of ex­cep­tions. Prof Kim be­lieves it is im­por­tant to know those tech­nocrats and bu­reau­crats who are trust­wor­thy. For ex­am­ple, Sin­ga­pore is good at re­plac­ing pub­lic of­fi­cers with tech­nocrats. There­fore, gov­ern­ment should al­low more power shar­ing, not dic­tat­ing, and cre­ate a good re­la­tion­ship with in­vestors.

Kim Byung Cho fin­ished his PhD in Busi­ness In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems from Pur­due Univer­sity, In­di­ana state in 1996. He fin­ished his MBA in ac­count­ing from Ball State Univer­sity. He fin­ished his CPA in 1986 and is among only 80 Kore­ans who com­pleted this in each year. His BA in In­ter­na­tional Trade was from Kyunghee Univer­sity and was com­pleted in 1984.

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