SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday called for the smooth parliamentary passage of the government's 2019 budget proposal after President Moon Jae-in called for parliamentary cooperation in his budget speech.
But the opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and minor Bareunmirae Party (BP) denounced Moon for sticking to his income-driven economic policy, saying that the president is not reading public sentiment.
Earlier in the day, Moon called on the National Assembly to approve the record 470 trillion-won (US$412.4 billion) budget proposal and to cooperate to build permanent peace with North Korea.
His speech came as the South Korean economy is slowing down amid lackluster facility investment and sluggish domestic spending. The job market is in a severe slump.
"I sympathized with Moon's explanation about the need to increase the budget for job creation, innovative growth and the underprivileged," Hong Young-pyo, the DP's floor leader, told reporters.
"If opposition parties offer reasonable and proper opinions in cutting the budget proposal, we will be open to accepting their view in finalizing the budget," he added.
But the LKP and the BP denounced Moon for not giving up his signature income-driven growth policy, though the people are bearing the brunt of the severe job crisis.
The government's hikes in the minimum wage, a key element in Moon's income-led growth policy, have had the unintended effect of hampering job growth as smaller companies and shop owners dismiss part-timers or temporary workers.
"It seems that President Moon is not aware of the cause of the economic and job crisis as he still preaches for income-driven growth in the name of the 'living well together' mantra," said Rep. Yoon Young-seok, a spokesman of the LKP.
The BP called on President Moon to acknowledge the government's policy failure and accept a set of reform measures presented by opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the liberal Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP) and the leftist Justice Party generally agreed with Moon's speech, but highlighted the need to aggressively tackle social polarization and boost welfare spending.
"It is questionable whether next year's budget plan could help resolve social polarization, though the government is presenting the right course toward the goal," the PDP said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency