Vietnam’s Ministry of Home Affairs has just proposed that cadres who “dare to think, dare to act” will enjoy the privilege of “disciplinary exemption.” The ministry made the proposal mentioned above at the Workshop on March 24, 2023to comment on a draft decree on encouraging and protecting dynamic, creative state official who dare to think and dare to act.
According to a representative of the agency, officials who dare to think, dare to do things for the common good but fail or face risks should be considered for disciplinary exemption.
Former Lieutenant Colonel Vu Minh Tri, who used to work at General Department 2 – Ministry of Defense told RFA his views on March 29, 2023:
“I think this proposal violates the rule of law. Cadres who dare to think, dare to act, innovate, etc. must follow the principle of compliance with the law. But Vietnam’s legal system has been built, amended and supplemented many times… I think it is definitely not complete, but it is enough to operate the state and society as it has been for so long. Therefore, making regulations that cadres can do things without legal consequences is completely a wrong regulation and goes against the spirit of respect for the law.”
However, the draft decree just mentioned states that measures to protect enterprising cadres are based on the provisions of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the laws of the state.
Professor Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, when answering RFA related to this issue on March 29, said that this proposal would be easily exploited:
“I think this proposal does not have a solid basis, because everything must be regulated by law. If it’s legal, it’s good, but if it’s not legal, it must be handled, not a general policy, no criteria, no scope, no level… But the policy of ‘dare to think dare to act will not be disciplined’ I think it may be taken advantage of.”
Because according to Professor Dang Hung Vo, all policies must be formulated and implemented on the basis of law. But if there is an idea that is not legalized, then there will certainly be no basis for implementation. Mr. Vo is concerned that officials will take advantage of that idea for personal gain.
In recent years, Vietnam has increased anti-corruption efforts, many cadres have been arrested and prosecuted for violations made a mistake and did not dare to do the job. The two sectors most affected are healthcare and vehicle registration.
Does the Ministry of Home Affairs’ proposal for “dare to think, dare to act” cadres to be exempt from discipline help solve the situation where cadres are afraid of responsibility when working? Former Lieutenant Colonel Vu Minh Tri said:
“I think the state officials are used to embezzlement, corruption…so if they can no longer embezzle, corrupt, can’t make money, end up… then cadres will find a way not to work.”
Instead of thinking of measures like the one proposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to Mr. Vu Minh Tri, the state must provide clear regulations on the responsibilities of each position, clearly describe the work and must have an assessment if not. If you fail to pass, you will be fired. Mr. Tri continued:
“But even making regulations like the Ministry of Home Affairs only creates conditions for people to have committed wrongdoings without being disciplined, there are talismans for people to continue to do wrong and corrupt things. Now, looking for cadres for the sake of the country for the people, dare to think and dare to act… then I don’t think there is any. Therefore, this regulation has no adjustment effect, but it only creates more legal corridors and loopholes for state officials to continue wrongdoings and violate the law, continue embezzlement and corruption, etc.”
At the Workshop on the draft decree on encouraging and protecting cadres who dare to think, dare to act organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 24, according to the state-controlled media, there were 21/28 leaders of the provincial Departments of Home Affairs in the northern region have commented, agreeing that the object of application of the draft decree on protection of creative cadres is all cadres and civil servants, not just those who keep leadership positions.
Also according to the state media, departmental leaders also hope that the draft decree will be approved soon and immediately put into practice so that cadres who dare to innovate are exempt from administrative and criminal liability.
Earlier at the beginning of March 2023, in the report submitted to the Government on the draft Decree replacing Decrees 108, 113 and 143 on the policy of downsizing the payroll, the Ministry of Home Affairs also proposed disciplined cadres and civil servants to voluntarily get out of their agencies.
Or recently, on March 20, 2023, the Supreme People’s Procuracy also proposed reducing the prison sentence for the head who committed violations but not for personal purpose. Public opinion at that time said, how to identify “violators” without “self-seeking” to reduce the sentence?