Businessmen not exploit NA deputy status to seek profit

Published: 21/03/2010 05:00



Deputy Nguyet Huong, who doubles as Chairwoman of the Vietnam Investment and Development Corporation, is sure that businessmen who are also NA deputies never use the position to benefit themselves.

NA deputy (Hanoi) Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong, 40, wears many hats. She is now the chairwoman of the Vietnam Investment and Development Corporation, a member of the NA’s Economic Committee and a member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee.

In her school years, Huong won prizes for her Russian language skills and graduated from Moscow University in 1992. After several years working at Nam Thang JSC, she founded her own shoe exporting company in 1999 and was elected to the Hanoi City Council. In 2006, Huong was named one of Vietnam’s top three businesswomen.

VietNamNet: How meaningful is the NA deputy status to your business?

Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong: I don’t consider NA deputy status as a prize that I can turn to advantage for myself in business. Businesses have their own working principles.

Someone may think that businessmen who are also deputies – there are 26 of us in the 12th National Assembly — can use their position to seek profit for themselves but I don’t think so.

An NA deputy represents the will and aspirations of the people. Businessmen are a part of the people, and like everyone else, they seek to express their opinions to the country’s leaders through NA deputies, particularly through fellow businessmen who are deputies.

For example, when Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there were many economic ordinances that needed amendment. The participation of businessmen- deputies like me was useful for that job.

VietNamNet: When they caucus together, many businessmen-deputies have very sharp opinions but at the meeting hall, not many of them speak out. Do you think that they are worried that there might be negative consequences for their firms?

Huong: If businesses obey the laws, they have nothing to worry about. NA deputies who dodge their responsibility to speak the truth don’t fulfil their responsibility. Their constituents will see that.

However, the time for questioning in plenary meetings is very short, and NA deputies have to touch many issues. I think choosing the proper time to raise a question is part of our parliamentary culture. If a question is asked and answered at committee meetings, it’s not necessary for deputies to raise it again in plenary sessions. The purpose of our presence in the NA meeting hall is not to polish our public reputations or to be seen by constituents. The NA debate needs keen opinions which go right to the point to save time.

VietNamNet: You said that businessmen- deputies never exploit of their status to seek profit for themselves. Seriously, don’t you gain an advantage when you are a legislator, thanks to your close relations with ministers and leaders of provinces and cities?

Huong: Officials of ministries, government agencies and local governments are important persons. Many people wish to meet them. It is more easier for businessmen who are also NA deputies to get such access. This is important, but more important is the character of the businessmen- deputies.

Normally, NA deputies are carefully screened. Businessmen-NA deputies are particularly confident. That’s the advantage of a businessman-legislator.

Perhaps my only advantage as a deputy is that officials understand more about my business. I think if NA deputies violate the laws, no one can protect them.

VietNamNet: Deputies have the power to supervise the activities of the state agencies in their constituencies. Meanwhile, businesses are under the supervision of state agencies. Isn’t that an unavoidable conflict of interest?

Huong: I think there is no conflict. Not only businesses but all citizens are under the state’s supervision, so the laws are built to work as fences and boundaries that everyone, both ordinary people and enterprises, should observe.

Meanwhile, NA deputies have the right of supervision under the laws. That operation takes place everyday.

The constituents I meet most often are my employees. They talk to me about real problems. And after hearing them, I will review to see whether the laws are appropriate, or need amendment to fit real circumstances.

VietNamNet: In the eyes of your husband and your children, are you more important now that you are a legislator?

Huong: I’m busier so I have less time for my children. However, that encourages them to be more self-reliant. When I have time for them, they are all very happy. We sometimes watch a movie together on Saturday or Sunday. Just like other families who go out together every weekend, my children remember each time we have fun together and they can remember in detail what I bought for them or our seat numbers at the cinema.

Looking back on my career as an NA deputy, I think that I have fulfilled all my commitments to the constituents. I’ve actively participated in building the law and in the supervisory process. There is a commitment to myself that I think I’ve fulfilled as well: being a good social activist, a good businesswoman and a mother who maintains a stable family.

VietNamNet: If you could tell the people just one thing, what would you say?

Huong: I will say that I’ve not disappointed them and I’ve kept my commitment to them.

Dang Duong

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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