“I never thought I would be a deputy”

Published: 21/03/2010 05:00



“I don’t want to be just an average deputy,” permanent member of the Justice Committee Nguyen Van Luat told VietNamNet during another interview in its series, ‘Know Your Representative.’

VietNamNet: Your home is in Ha Dong district, far from your office in Ba Dinh district (downtown Hanoi). How do you get to the office every day?

Professor Nguyen Van Luat, 50, a legal expert, was elected to the 12th National Assembly as a representative of the Mekong delta province of Kien Giang.

Deputy Nguyen Van Luat: My family has lived in Ha Dong since 1991. I ride a motorbike to my office. When it is rainy or too cold, I call a taxi. I can ask for a Government car but I want to take initiative at work.

Deputies of the 11th NA shared state cars but it was very inconvenient. This term, to economize, full-time NA deputies like me are allocated four million dong a month as traveling expenses.

VietNamNet: You were head of the Judicial Science Institute of the People’s Supreme Court when you were elected. Which job do you like better?

Luat: The Judicial Science Institute assists the council of judges and leaders of the People’s Supreme Court to build legal interpretations, research precedents, etc. That agreed with me because I love researching.

The People’s Supreme Court appointed me to stand for the 12th NA. I was elected and become a full-time deputy. My job at the Justice Committee also deals with activities of the court. My experience is brought into full play as a deputy so I’m very interested in my current job.

VietNamNet: Your previous work had to do with drafting laws so you surely must have worked with NA deputies. What was your impression?

Luat: When I worked at the Judicial Science Institute, I attended many NA meetings. I saw that many deputies prepared very carefully and spoke very confidently, speaking for the people. I sometimes tried to put myself in their position but I never thought that I would be a deputy. It is a big surprise, but that experience helps me to be more confident when I do the job of a deputy.

VietNamNet: The National Assembly supervises the People’s Supreme Court, where you used to work. Now you supervise your previous agency. How do you feel about that?

Luat: It is very interesting. When you are commented on and criticized by others, you sometimes feel offended, especially when the Assembly doesn’t understand your difficulties and lacks sympathy. Now, whenever I speak, I always try to contribute my opinions objectively while showing my sympathy to the agencies whose work I discuss.

VietNamNet: Do you ever “mistake your role” and speak for your previous agency?

Based on my experience, I always try to explain to other deputies how the court operates and the difficulties it faces. It is important to have objective opinions.

VietNamNet: Is it difficult for you to oversee the work of your former bosses?

Luat: The relationships must be clear to avoid anyone’s misunderstanding that I’m not objective. Personally, my relations with former colleagues are very good. I still help colleagues with my experience in document drafting.

VietNamNet: An important duty of the Justice Committee is reviewing judgments of cases. Do you see many cases in which the court is wrong?

Luat: Last year the Justice Committee received more than 5000 complaints about judgments. The committee researched complaints and asked for reports from related agencies.

The committee set up supervisory groups to reconsider judged cases. A number of cases were judged incorrectly. Many complaints were solved after discussion with the agencies involved. The only cases we cannot require be reconsidered are those decided by the People’s Supreme Court.

That could change, by the way. We are working with the People’s Supreme Court and the People’s Supreme Procuracy to make amendments to the Procedural Law, the Civil Law, and the Law on Administrative Procedures.

VietNamNet: Were you nervous when you spoke to the NA for the first time?

Luat: Yes, because I was not used to a big forum like the NA, where so many Party and State leaders and journalists are present. But I gradually made good of it by preparing an outline of my ideas. It is most important to be brief and to the point.

VietNamNet: After three years as a deputy, are you more confident? Many deputies have become “celebrities” who are known by the public.

I’m confident now. Many deputies who have worked in the NA for many years and understand constituents’ concerns and speak for them have won the heart of constituents. For example, my delegation includes Danh Ut, a dynamic Khmer deputy who is widely known by the people. I have to learn from such deputies to model the lifestyle of a representative of the people, who speaks for the people.

VietNamNet: Do you aim to become a star in the Assembly?

Luat: I think all deputies want to be outstanding representatives of the people. That is also my goal. I wouldn’t want to be just an average deputy.

Khanh Linh

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