Vietnam minister criticized for ban on playing golf

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A notice by the Vietnamese transport minister asking subordinates to stop playing golf has been criticized by a senior legal official as a violation of rights.

 

Le Hong Son, head of the Legal Documents Assessment Bureau at the Justice Ministry, told press media Wednesday that minister Dinh La Thang's directive was "wrong and redundant."

 

The directive came in a statement Monday asking leaders of the transport ministry's agencies and firms to stop playing golf, including during weekends and vacations, to better focus their energies on their jobs.

 

But Son said that Thang, who was appointed to the post after a National Assembly session last month, was not "authorized" to issue a directive like this.

 

He said it "violates the rights of concerned officials," and that his bureau is preparing a statement asking that the order be rescinded.

 

"We appreciate the enthusiasm of several new leaders. But the enthusiasm has to come with an understanding of their rights and that of others," Son said.

 

He said the order was also unreasonable in that it only banned golf. "Does the minister assume that playing tennis or badminton does not cost time?"

 

But Thang had told press agencies Tuesday that too much time spent on golf courses has been one reason for delays caused by ministry officials in handling their work, thus slowing down many projects.

 

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"Sports, and golf in particular, is good, but when the country is going through difficult times and many transport businesses are facing a difficult time, we need to focus our time and intelligence on our jobs," he said.

 

He also said the order is an internal regulation of the transport ministry, just like the regulation banning Vietnam's Party members from drinking alcohol or going to karaoke parlors.

 

Pham Tang Loc, head of the Personnel and Organizing Department at the ministry, said the order was made by the minister individually and most of the ministry officials have so far agreed with it.

 

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