The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division
Speech by Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia, at the Honorary Session of the State Great Khural, the Parliament, Dedicated to the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the First, Permanent Democratic Parliament in Mongolia
BE THAT THE STATE GREAT KHURAL, THE GOVERNMENT, COURT OR THE PRESIDENT, WE ALL BEAR THE SAME SINGLE SACRED DUTY. THAT IS THE SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE OF MONGOLIA
My dear people,
Dear statesmen, dear guests,
The 20th autumn since the establishment of the first democratic permanent Parliament in Mongolia has come to Mongolia. Not so long ago did we live the historic days of the first session of the State Small Khural. In this course, we have had 4 State Great Khurals, and now are in the fifth session of the Fifth State Great Khural.
Our people know the State Small Khural as the respected author of Mongolia’s newest history and that it fulfilled with honor the dignified duty to realize the free and historic choice of our people, its electors. The generations of Parliaments served the historic and vital mandate to build democratic, open legal relations in our society and to strengthen and consolidate the country’s independence and our people’s rights and liberties. The traditions of adopting and adhering to our democratic Constitution, the hard work to transform the country to open and free political, economic and social relations and the activities to consolidate Mongolia’s international reputation, solutions for myriad complex issues, historic initiatives and ideas are all indispensably associated with the endeavors, distinction and the accomplishments of the generations of Mongolian Parliamentarians.
Therefore, on behalf of the people of Mongolia and of State of Mongolia, I express my profound respect to the generations of Deputies and Members of the People’s Great Khural, State Small Khural and the State Great Khural, the fathers of new Mongolia, who have dedicated their minds and hearts, efforts and endeavors to implementing the new and free choice of the Mongolians.
The path of Mongolians to realize their free choice wasn’t an easy one. Yet, for becoming the owners of their new choice, for electing and establishing the organization to run the state, for keeping a live connection by encouraging for good deeds and reprimanding for mistakes, I sincerely thank the people of Mongolia on behalf of the generations of the Mongolian Parliament and extend my greetings for this great date along with my best wishes for development and progress for my country and the wellbeing for my people.
Development and consolidation of Parliamentarism is caused by a multitude of factors. The development of Mongolian Parliament is inseparable from the efforts and activities of thousands of people working in such organizations as the Parliament Secretariat, research institutions, media and communication organizations and others which have been either under direct supervision of the Parliament or have been closely engaging with the Parliament in various activities and capacities. These organizations and institutions include the generations of Governments, Presidents, State central and local administrative organizations as well. Equally commendable are the valuable contributions of numerous national and international organizations and individuals who have helped, supported and partnered.
The 20-year history of development of Parliamentarism in Mongolia bears value not only for Mongolia, but was also a process of regional significance. This history manifests that the common values of human civilization – humaneness, human rights and freedoms – are relevant for each and every Mongolian citizen, that these values are consistent with the rights and benefits of our people. This very achievement of the Mongolian people proves that any one, regardless of his or her social origin, regardless of how poor he or she is, has a right to live by his or her own choice, and that right is real.
Realization of rights of a free Mongolian citizen, the conscientious realization of ensuing duties and responsibilities, this very culture of exercising the rights and abiding by the duties is the most cherished and pristine power the Mongolian people have gained in the past 20 years. The history and legacies of Parliamentarism being molded in Mongolia cannot really be seen apart from this achievement. And therefore, on behalf of the State of Mongolia I congratulate and thank my fellow Mongolian citizens, all those good-willed people and their families who participated and been participating and making tremendous contributions to the noble cause to build a permanent and democratic Parliament in Mongolia. I wish you all continued success.
It may seem not too long ago when a permanent Parliament became a reality in Mongolia. Yet, the experiences we have accumulated are substantial. Certainly, these experiences are reflective of the revolutions and quality changes we have undertaken in all spheres of social life over the past short span of time. Noteworthy, it took for Mongolia 20 years to write and richly fill in the historic pages, writing of which took longer years, at times even centuries in most countries with Parliamentarism.
Peaceful transition of the government power by the choice of people from one political force to another took place several times in Mongolia. Mongolia has been able to cultivate the peaceful transfer of power as a normal regime, lawful culture and a regular social process. And this is a truly new accomplishment, which is unimaginable, inconceivable in many parts of our region.
Over the past years, we have lived through different shades of a Parliamentary country, including an experience when the general election didn’t result in the majority of any one political force in the law-making institution. The history of the two parties having won the most number of seats by the choice of the people and virtue of law and forming the Cabinet under complex circumstances where the Premier was appointed from the minority is also known to us. The story is not alien to us. The non-standard solution for the political force which won the absolute majority by official election returns form a Government jointly with the Parliamentary minority is also ascribable to our Parliament. And it wasn’t just a single time when we dismissed and renewed the Government, in formal words, held the Government accountable. We had had a Prime Minister to resign upon request and the newly appointed one start Premiership with an old retained Cabinet.
Put shortly, we have gone through a lot in the two decades of Parliamentary trail. More important is what we learned in this course. If we had really gone through a lot, we should really have learned a lot. In the statehood milieu, these lessons ought to mean that in the relations among the state, society and citizens we had made many solutions, more progressive and advanced. This is in the past now. Now what is the reality?
Dear people of Mongolia,
Members of the State Great Khural,
The prime reason for a state to form, and the ultimate reason for the state to have existed, in a sense, the cause and the consequence of a state is eventually one single virtue, denoted by one simple word – SERVICE. As I understand it, as I comprehend it, for any state, especially for a democratic state, the duty is to serve its citizens. In Mongolia, be that the Parliament, or the Government, or the courts, or the President – all bear one same sacred duty. This is service to the Mongolian people. To serve the people’s common, lawful rights. In fact, we do not really need to excel, be successful and outdo others in work. We just need to do what we have to do; we just have to serve our people. Otherwise, we do not need to be the heroes of labor, be the best someone of the year and be rewarded or eulogized.
Today, at all levels many public services have turned into “window dressing”, into just an eye-service. No wonder. This is a true image of a State which deprives its citizens of their rights and jobs. The State’s unabashed self-service, instead of serving the people, is getting out of control. Most of what the government service produces is reaped by the government itself. On top, the government servants spend generously to escape bad talk but to be praised and extolled. This is what the Government does the best.
My favorite saying – a democratic society doesn’t hide its shadows. Yet, officials in an open society are scared to see their shadows. It is just us, the officials, who think that “people do not see our shadows, that, speaking of which, we don’t have shadows at all after all”. But the shrewd Mongolian people do not only see our shadows, but moreover, they see all the way through the thick curtain the drama, some frustratedly, some mockingly, some disdainfully.
There is an esteemed role model that a state plays for the society. The essence of that role-play is to be a trustworthy, trusted state, a state that is in the soul of the people. There is a saying that the people’s road to the state is covered by trust. And the reason is clear – at any level, a government organization and its management is legitimately seen as the best color of the society, the elite or leaders. The best ideas, the warmest heart, the most careful soul and humane act, good deeds and services are to be emanating from the leaders in the society. Put shortly, at their respective levels, our decision makers and leading politicians should demonstrate those fine qualities and their acts and actions should serve as a model for others to follow and to look up to. If the statesmen fail to be so, people distrust and disparage the state, the statesmen, the decision makers. Their actions, decisions look unlawful, look dirty to the people.
These days our leaders-statesmen are listening to the people, and holding consultations by regions and districts. It is commendable if they listen to what the people say without any filters and colorings, as bare as the people’s tongue sound. Some letters to me from people read that “they listen to what they want to hear, advise what they please to advise and take their own thoughts as the only ultimate truth”.
A short while ago, a Member of Parliament who sat in one of such meetings to listen to the people came to speak with me. He says:”I partook in a meeting to listen to the people. When the people meet, they deprecate the state, they curse the government. Even hate”. I’d think the Member of Parliament was perhaps linguistically overindulgent when sharing with his thoughts.
People are frustrated to see the money meant for serving the people are spent for serving the image of the distinguished MPs. The theft made in the name of the State is getting overwhelmingly unmanageable. People indicate at the lack of control, lack of accountability. And the media picks up on the topic as well. People say and write that if backed by the majority, any act, even if established to be unlawful, is vindicated and the official keeps the office, keeps his post.
Speaking of which, I recall, 20 years ago, a Member of the State Small Khural, having heard the Government was going to issue its Resolution #20, bought on his way home a walkman with his own money, and that caused suspension of his Member’s full powers. The majority in the Mongolian law making institution back then was not as shameless and impudent as that contemporary one is. Mongolia’s Parliament did have an upright tradition, a value to maintain and uphold the reputation of Mongolia’s new democratic state clean and transparent and held this value dearer than his own name or a trusted friendship, without a fear to taint a spot on his good name or that friendship. Generations of the Mongolian State ought to be grateful to the 20-year old State Small Khural – Mongolia’s first permanent democratic Parliament, its leaders and members for the very uprightness, for setting that high ethical threshold, for that very principled morality. The present and future generations of politicians and public servants should strive to meet that benchmark of dignity, and live a life free from emerging and potential moral degradation and disgraceful practices.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
One cannot really ascribe the incumbent Parliament and Government as sitting idle. As a matter of fact, after all there are no Parliaments or Governments which don’t do anything, which don’t work. Talks around big mines, big projects, big money have been flourishing around, and some decisions are being made. Yet, there is a “peccadillo” in our Parliament majority and the Government leaders – amazingly enthusiastic and fervent in dividing high office seat pies, while holding the bridle and making a deaf-and-damb when justice is addressed. People’s frustration and disapproval addressed to the State are largely due to this behavior. It is true that people demand us to fulfill the money promise. No less critically, people demand from us: first, establishing justice in the society, and second, employment opportunities.
It goes without my telling you, distinguished Members of Parliament, that the failure to decide on suspending the powers of Mr. Sangaragchaa for whole 3 months caused no less anger and frustration of the people addressed to the Parliament and leaders than the 5-year long discussion of Oyu Tolgoi mine development, and that damages the reputation and honor of the State. It does not look like the people will ask the Parliament to cause to rain with gold today or tomorrow. And they know you can’t cause to rain with gold, and they know that golden rain can be made possible by the Mongolian people themselves. People are angry because the official who might have erred is being sheltered and protected.
Seemingly, some parties and members have jumpstarted into election campaign, and quite early. Most importantly, beware not to misread the voters desires, otherwise, ending up in a much worse swamp could become a reality. People won’t be exceptionally unhappy if gold, copper, coal are mined with their participation and control and are used to benefit the country’s and their present and future. Yet, they are unhappy and angry because the Parliament and the leaders are reluctant to “mine and dig out” and eradicate corruption and red-tape.
Second vital after the State’s duty to serve the people comes the duty to hold accountable those officials who violated socially established order, law, social contract, who stole from the social wealth, who miscarried the State’s and people’s trust, by timely and duly removing from the post, by banishing from office. This is an important duty, a task of the State, for the wellbeing of the society, of the country, beyond the full powers of any one particular state\public organization. In this sense, the State Great Khural is a bridge of accountability between the people and an official. And it is not a curtain, or a rock wall between the two.
Any citizen in Mongolia will tell you by heart that in Mongolia the Parliament is mandated to ensure and monitor enforcement and compliance with law. And you say so too. Is it ever conceivable to have lawmakers, law implementation watchdogs to lullaby, to pat the head and cuddle an officer obliged to implement a law! Can there ever be a democratic and just Parliament with members scared to openly comment and vote! I heard, some say they fear to be caught in a “revenge trap”. Blundered statement of a blundered man. Our Constitution itself is a guarantee for a Member of Parliament to express his opinion openly. Members of Parliament should cast their votes openly unless provided otherwise by law. This is a principle of democracy. Yet, the Members adamantly push for closed voting. Members of Parliament can’t be playing “catch me if you can”. Instead, Parliament Members are the people whose covert actions should be overt.
A regular citizen who conceals his knowledge of a criminal is brought to justice. But is it possible for the Parliament to brood and loiter with its decision, in spite of reading and knowing of the conclusions of the professional and law enforcement organizations which indicate at potential presence of criminal features and the need for detailed investigations. Is it normal for the Members of the Parliament follow the wills and desires of a person who might have miscarried his duties!
I was warning you a year ago. I noted that the incapable and immoral leaders of the organization were turning the Agency to Combat Corruption into an Agency to Comfort Corruption. The leaders of the organization look as if they work to sustain the army of corrupt officials instead of disdaining corrupt practices and preventing fraud and theft of public wealth. We may not live this life any longer. Mongolia, Mongolian State may not agree to tolerate corruption. Mongolia may not agree to live a life of a hostage to corruption.
Members of the Parliament, your frailty and pathetic behavior affect the functioning of the State at all levels. For instance, look at the Government. The eastern Mongolian steppe, which once withstood armed attacks of aggressors, whose feet didn’t leave deep prints, is now being devastated by foot and mouth disease for 2 months in a row. The herd so dear to Mongol herdsmen and people, who care for each and every calf and foal, lamb and kid risking their own lives, is being killed and buried in thousands.
Did you, distinguished Members of Parliament, ask the Government, the officials about what is happening? Have you raised accountability issue with anyone? Our people demand from us accountability and jobs. People want jobs, they want income. Yet the Government submits for Parliament’s discussion proposals and drafts not to increase, but to cut dead opportunities to create jobs. The Government should defend its proposal if it is well justified and grounded. But they withdraw it back merely because one or two members raise criticism. Can we afford the Government to make such decisions? Can you now say that the Government is fulfilling its duties? These are my questions. You please sort your answers out here.
Members of Parliament and the Government,
I do understand that speaking from this podium, I must represent many people who had been elected and served the people. Some have shared with me with the ideas and thoughts. These people nurture both pride and irritation.
The people want the State work responsibly, creatively and justly. I do have a right to speak of the people. I do have a duty to represent the people. I take this rostrum not only for congratulatory remarks and loud applauds, but also to tell you of my people’s pains, convey their desires and wishes, demand in their name, ask for accountability. How ever hard this may be, this is a duty I have to fulfill.
Two responsible and weighty political parties stepped beyond\over the people’s choice and formed a joint government sharing the liabilities by majority and minority. The pros and cons, goods and bads of such a joint undertaking had been discussed extensively. There were periods when both the joint Government and the Parliament performed well and one could nurture hope. Certain ideas and initiatives were made into being.
There is a growing need for actions oriented to either confirm that the non-standard joint government was an advantage or to complement and supplement to fill in for the deficiencies and failures caused by this coupling. In the store ahead we have accumulated a lot to fulfill, to accomplish, to create and build, for which not much money is needed [which is always a headache for the government], but which could enhance people’s trust to the State. We should always remain alert about the risk to slip into an unlawful system if indecision and wooliness inhabit the non-standard government.
To make this speech today, I have reviewed the speeches I made since I was elected the President. There are quite many initiatives and ideas I proposed to the Parliament and Government and in which I invested great hope and trust for cooperation with the Parliament and Government members. I didn’t want to meddle into all state and government deeds under the pretext that I am the President of the country. And I don’t need to do so. Equally I didn’t want to occupy the pages and screens of mass media blocking others’ views just like billboards do and trying to depict myself as a hard laborer. I simply focus on concrete issues that my people have delegated me to address when they elected me.
National security of my country, ensuring common rights and benefits of my citizens are under my core attention. During the past spring session, I addressed in a detailed format issues pertaining to Mongolian’s national security. I am earnestly glad the overwhelming majority of the Members had attached high significance to the subject and actively exchanged ideas and viewpoints. Following my address, the Members of Parliament held constructive discussions and deliberations and ratified within a short period of time National Security Concepts of Mongolia. This was a historic contribution of the incumbent Parliament of Mongolia to safeguarding our country’s national security and the common rights and benefits of the Mongolian people. Further on the issue, creative and constructive engagement of all level state organizations will be vital for ensuring the implementation and realization of the Concepts. National Security is the vital interest and inviolable principle that is diligently upheld by the people.
I kept reminding in my speeches of many cases when a country, a State falls apart not because of aggression from outside, but from corruption, red tape and unlawful practices at home. Some voluble and general talks occasionally sprout around corruption and red-tape, at times in an organized manner, yet no real steps are being made, no real actions are taken. It is alarmingly upsetting that the resistance protecting the web of corrupt officials evolves as a ruthless fight made in an organized, systemic and life-threatening way. And this modus operandi is being loftily manipulated by corrupt and unaccountable bodies at whatever cells they reside.
Almost a year has passed since my proposed changes to the Criminal Code on revising the provisions on corruption and abuse of official powers have reached the Parliament. Another proposal to start reforms in the judiciary has seen two sessions and again, is being ignored collecting dust. Let’s put an end to finance judiciary by balance. Several bills are now ready to be submitted to the Parliament, one of which is a law on student’s salary and allowances, which was jammed in the Government almost half a year.
It is not pleasant to be receiving parcels of resistance in return of my efforts to cooperate with the Parliament and the Government. Cooperation does not mean conspiracy. Our cooperation should dwell upon justice and common lawful principles. I know what issues are of interest to some of you, and what issues you avoid. And I am also aware of what of my actions and steps we are careful and which ones you don’t care at all. All are well if principles are observed and works are advanced.
I have sought to resolve issues by changing the system and the law. I sincerely wish the incumbent Parliament and Government support my initiatives and proposals which aim at bringing long-lived justice to prevail in the society and unshattered enforcement and implementation of law. This is not my private wish, this is a common wish of the Mongolian people, proven and guaranteed by their lawful choice. We all should obey and serve this supreme benefit of our people. Restoring and reinstituting law and justice is what the people need like air, like water. The President and all other public servants should start a day by reminding ourselves of this earnest will of our people and should work to fulfill this will. This is all I want.
Mr. Speaker, distinguished Members of the Parliament,
In my capacity of the President of Mongolia, my hope and trust to cooperate with the incumbent Parliament and Government members have not vanished yet. Therefore, I am trying to bring up concrete ideas, proposals, try to collectively find solutions to challenging issues. For this I am ready to walk in front and hold the fire.
In my address at the start of the past Spring Session, I stressed the importance of reforming the public service to conform it to the emerging realities. No progress has been made on this front. I intend to establish an expanded Working Group to work on the issue. We also spoke about political parties, election law, election promises. I put forward concrete proposals. Money promise is on the way to realization. Yet, the time is running short for resolving many issues of principal importance.
The efforts to transfer power to citizens and local governments fail to gain momentum. Issues must be resolved not by centralizing power at Parliament and the Government, but by transferring power. This would have put numerous complex issues in a right way, and the burden on the Central Government along with ensuing biases will thin away. We should look into the Parliament and the Government pots to really see where political and economic rights are in Mongolia.
The powers of the Mongolian people and our national freedom which were kept in Beijing during the Manchu period and in Moscow during the communism were taken back to Ulaanbaatar thanks to the democratic revolution, yet they are now stuck in the pockets of the Parliament and the Government. I am pleading you again, if you are a people’s state, please give the people the rights they are entitled to. For how many more Parliament sessions do our citizens, our local people have to hear my pleading to return by law the rights taken away from people by law? For how many more years should they wait for their right to be given and stop imagining licking a candy stick behind a glass?
People sense that they were not given the most important thing from the state. And that’s why they are frustrated. That missing thing is their fundamental rights and freedoms. A culture to bear the responsibilities is cultivated only upon fully exercising the rights. In fact, they are not asking for something excessive, extra from the State. They are only asking for their rights. If people get their economic and political rights, they will independently resolve their economic and political problems. They won’t bother the State with requests and pleads. There are no human rights without humans. There is no civil society without civil participation. Without citizens, there is no civil society. A State which cannot comprehend this simple truth becomes the source of hatred of its people.
The Parliament did support my proposal to suspend certain legal provisions concerning the mineral exploration licenses. Yet, the government’s proposal to resolve the issue accommodating realities is still pending. If necessary, I stand ready to commission a Working Group and develop a proposal.
Issues of concern associated with mineral exploration and mining still emerge. Here again, we encounter problems with the rights and powers of local governments, civil powers. Today, a citizen of Mongolia has no right to appeal to court with a complaint over a dried river in his neighborhood and cannot have the losses redeemed. There were even cases when citizens were shut up by those in the government and lawyers for a complaint over water pollution and drying up that there were no grounds to conclude that the citizen was incurred losses or damages for the rivers were free, that they bore no value.
Because the valuable human rights were not given to the people, because Mongolian citizens do not have a right to set the value for their valuable assets, everything valuable in this country loses its value. Let us give the right to value their assets to the local people, local citizens. Let them set the value for their pasture lands, for the rivers and waters. Let them set the value for the wells and Zag trees and oasis in the Gobi. Let the Khangai people value the few trees they have in their bold hills, let them value the wildlife. Let them value everything that is valuable to them.
Please give these rights to our people. Let them exercise their rights, protect their interests, safeguard justice and let them live like humans ought to live, like the owners of wealth ought to live. The citizens who are not equipped with their rights, tend to resort to other forms of struggle thus are susceptible to illegality or unlawfulness. In fact, indeed, we are a State which builds a society where its citizens are valued as the core wealth of the nation, and not suspected as potential criminals.
In this way, citizens should exercise the rights and fulfill the duties. Our lawyers and judges should stringently safeguard the lawful rights and benefits of our citizens. In such a way, will the judiciary be cultivated as a social citizen, a society will be built serving its citizens, corruption and red-tape will be done away with and the reputation and integrity of the State revived.
Recently, in Bayanchandmani soum of Tuv aimag I saw citizens voluntarily coming together to discuss and resolve their pressing issues. Pensioners and active citizens form a mutual fund contributing 100, 200 tugrugs and help each other plant and grow vegetables, make hay, build and repair fences and shelters, plant trees and build fountains. Streets were green and children played on playgrounds. Such initiatives are being spread in many aimags, soums and villages.
I issued a decree to promote the establishment and development of such Citizens’ Savings Groups throughout the country. The work they do, initiatives they make and support they render to each other are much more effective and productive than the rivalry among Parliament candidates during the election campaigns. And the reason is clear – people build and create with their hands, with their own ideas. They do work. People there have constructed bio-toilets and produce smoke-free fuel. This is just a simple example of creation, of development, of progress thanks to people’s freedom, ability and the will to unite in a free society.
It is true that to Mongolians cooperative culture of settled civilization is somewhat new. Once a household expands beyond its single family, an agreement and rules are needed to regulate relations pertaining to living and working in that expanded community of households. It is commendable if this culture begins with the primary unit of our administrative system. It is commendable if streets in the cities, if every bag and grassroot in the countryside abides by such collectively agreed rules. It will take some time for this model expand to villages, districts, provinces and capital city.
It is not easy for a law to reach out and serve every single relationship in a society. Yet, people’s settlement relations can be regulated by rules, procedures and agreements set by the people themselves. People live amidst endless spiral of various social decisions – where to build a house, where to lay a road, how to protect their wealth, what is private and what is public, etc. If people start learning how to handle these relations, we will learn how to protect their rights and carry out their duties. Such rules protecting the citizens will be most successfully and effectively enforced.
Some even say that the traffic rules are better enforced than some laws. A life without rules makes no sense. The State should encourage every soum, every village have its rules. Should you visit any civilized country and say our provinces, our cities, towns and villages don’t have rules, you would hear one common comment – “real barbarians”. If we are truly a democracy, a civilized country, we must give the right to culture and teach how to build and promote cultured citizenship to our people. Plus a timely financial aid would make the support ideal.
In order to provide this opportunity to our citizens to culture and civilize, first the real estate tax has to be set flexibly and give the people the right to get those funds. We may even allow the local government to finance some of its expenditures from that income. If this becomes a reality, local governments would register not only human housing, but even dog huts will be registered. Those who own big houses will pay more, and those who have less, who have a hut will pay less. Let’s set the taxes by location. For instance, let those buildings in the downtown of Ulaanbaatar pay more, and those at the outskirts may pay a symbolic amount. Let’s exempt the hospital, school and sports buildings from the tax. Once such an inventorization, such a system starts fully functional, those chronic issues and concerns around traffic jam, red-tape and corruption will make own way away. Once people in the locales start dealing with taxes and money, they will become responsible. They will resolve their problems by themselves. They will stop pleading the center and the various chairmen there, and will stop being frustrated. This is where I see the solutions to problems.
Please stop planning around the state and administrative units. Start planning for the people, around the people. Office of the Governor is not meant to serve the Governor. This is a service arena for the Governor to serve the people. Further on, we must move to a system where the Governor is not a Head or a Chairman but a servant to the people, and where the state central and local administrative organizations become the service centers to the citizens, to the people. All state and government organizations, law enforcement and judicial entities must become a part of this circle of service to the people. Once we start looking at issues from such a perspective, we will stop seeing each other as problems. We will stop living a burdened life, a life as if we were the hostages to fortune.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Since I started, let me complete duly. I’d like to ask you to get a copy of the Cooperation Agreement the MPRP and the Democratic Party concluded on September 12, 2008. Please recall where we began, what our thoughts and positions were and what the joined the efforts for when forming a joint government. The document is still valid and it contains a lot to implement, undertake and realize, which the people expect us to do.
In the coming 10 years, Mongolia’s annual GDP can potentially increase by no less than 10%. Money is not going to remain an acute problem for Mongolia. Yet, it will be an issue for whose wellbeing this money is going to be spent. Our people have to gain from these opportunities. We must invest in our people. First of all, let’s invest in their health and education. Let’s allocate money for building the necessary schools, kindergartens, clinics and their repair. Let us have these works be carried out by local people, local companies. Please stop such practices when a tender for a hospital building in Hubsugul is won by someone in Ulaanbaatar, while the Hubsugul people know nothing of the deal.
There is one single reason for people to migrate from Mongolia’s countryside afar and why the lives of people there deteriorate. The Center, the central government does not support businesses which would create jobs, income and thus better living in such neighborhoods. Businesses cannot survive in the outskirts of Mongolia. Money doesn’t go there. No opportunities are created there. In Mongolia we see a money-driven life. Powers and authorities accompany money. Channel the money to the countryside, to the people. And transfer the power to the countryside and to local people. When deciding the spending for 5 tugrugs, let’s make sure that 4 tugrugs of the 5 are decided in the countryside and not in Ulaanbaatar. This will dismantle the mist of anger, quarrel and biases that follow the powers.
Let the students earn salaries. Let all the doctors and teachers acquire housing. Let those houses be built for the people and companies of the neighborhood where these houses will be erected. We do have money. Just make it available. Every year let’s create some substantial value for the development of the Mongolian people and relevant to Mongolia’s integrity and reputation. Let’s build a stadium one year, and libraries, theatres the others years. Let’s construct sports complexes, hospitals and schools and dormitories. Let’s build a complex to preserve and enrich our history and traditions. Let’s every year, one by one, budget these projects. This year, let’s at least budget for developing decent engineering and construction plans and schemes. In this way Mongolia will prosper and develop as the money will be dedicated to the wellbeing of the people and not channeled to the pockets of few bureaucrats.
Shortly, the State Great Khural shall discuss the country’s budget for the next year. These discussions in fact unfold some very anecdotally comic scenes and sketches that cause the Parliament be ridiculed. Discussions feature virtuous promises and care for the people. Blaming each other is not a novice during these discussions. Orders will be given, the law will be passed. And will end by a soothing statement that everything will be just fine soon. Members know what to demand from the Government. And the Government knows how to skillfully dodge. The sneaky minister would tell how much money is concealed where and how to use those funds. It’s hard to expect some progressive, righteous outcome from budget discussions. No vetoes are accepted. But let me tell one just one thing – your parents, your electors are concerned for you not to steal from the public funds.
Please stop speculating and guessing in this Hall how many tires of the ambulance car in Uvs province Turgen soum clinic would go flat next year, and how those flat tires will be fixed. People are annoyed with these talks. Please start with yourselves, Members of the Parliament, by stopping to steal from the public funds, from the people, in the name of the State under the pretext of central fiscal planning and allocation. Give those rights to talk, allocate, spend, control and oversee to the local people, local governments.
Please give the people the right to be the owners of their wealth and owners of their rights and duties. This is the most vital opportunity for the people to be the owners of their fundamental rights after the rights to own cattle, land and apartments.
Invest in creating in Mongolia an environment, a system whereby Mongolia becomes a processor and producer of agricultural products. Open the prospects for and encourage the herders interest to cooperate. Please help the people get rid of the speculative exchanges or private speculators, roaming everywhere in the country and inflating the prices. At this time next year every Mongolian citizen who wants to work must be employed, must have a job. Let’s the State declare one policy clearly to our people. “Please do some work. For this you will be paid”. Let a single citizen or citizens’ cooperatives be paid for what they create, for what they do.
The time has come for Mongolia to spend money for consolidating and strengthening justice in our society, for empowering our people, for improving the quality of democracy. In the future, public financing should shrink while fiscal support must be rendered to non-governmental organizations. Operational costs of non-governmental organizations who engage in socially valuable deeds must be borne by the Government. Had the government supported and financially helped local initiatives and local NGOs in eastern Mongolia, worn out by the Foot and Mouth disease, we would have ended up in a completely different situation. Our State is stingy and mean to those who bare-handedly wrestle with the calamity whereas those who produce trash and seek profit on vaccination are patted and are given generous amounts of money.
People hate such disgusting practices. Eighty percent of the government’s workload can easily be borne by citizens and their initiatives. It is a weak government which sees its people incapable of doing the jobs the government itself does. I will initiate a law to change this situation. Please help and cooperate.
Our State is convinced that supporting SMEs is important. Thus, it set up a center to support SMEs. It spent money to establish the center, yet tightfisted on the center’s operational expenditures. Instead, why not call the people to set up such centers, set quality benchmarks and provide operating capital to successful ones.
I am equally concerned for the deteriorating reputation of the State in the public. The State can work differently. The State can enjoy a sound reputation. There are chances and there are optimal solutions, of which I have been reminding you. If the State doesn’t delegate jobs to the citizens, to the citizens’ organizations and professional associations, the latter shall never learn to work. And the accountability, civilized accountability system will not culture in Mongolia. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry notes that in the “Year to Improve Business Environment” opposite has happened, the business environment is deteriorating. This is a reality.
Some 2 years ago Member Bat-Uul was saying: over the past years, Mongolian corrupts stole 3 billion USD, which the people would have otherwise benefited. This is an amount enough for 40-year long payment of child money. If we fail to change the bulky state structures, the payment Mongolian people make to the corrupt state and its officials would increase several fold time.
The State does not need to engage in all affairs and relations in the country. People should work and the State should serve the people. If this is guaranteed, there would be no need for the Government to chase the goats and sheep trying the fix earrings worth 5 billion tugrugs. A herder in a soum is taking his urine for a test to the aimag hospital simply because the soum clinic doesn’t have a laboratory capacity. All this shows who needs money and where.
Give all licensing rights, currently held by the State, to professional and citizens’ organizations. Hold training for them on the requirements by the Government and standards. Let the State provide for the operating capital based on open and clear benchmarks and criteria. From the next morning on, the corruption and red-tape will evaporate. Mongolian businessmen, Mongolian citizens shall be grateful to the State. State’s image will improve. State standard open criteria shall become an incentive for development. Mongolia shall have secured her interests and benefits by its citizens who work according to just and fair criteria. State’s performance and reputation shall be enhanced everywhere. People’s rights will be secured. National Security will be intact. Justice shall prevail in the society.
During last year’s fiscal revision Speaker Demberel instructed to, as the journalists now say, “tighten the belts”. A working Group was established headed by Member Ulaan to cut the staff and expenditures of government organizations, including the positions of vice-ministers and officials at agencies. Yet the loose and carefree Government feared to implement the Parliament directives. Opposite, a contra- proposal is being developed by the Government to increase the number of public servants by thousands and thousands people under “Mongol Livestock” program. Governments around the whole world are making resolute decisions to make themselves small and lean, but look at what we do!
In fact, all state agencies financing system except for intelligence, police, border troops and armed forces, must be fundamentally restructured so that they compete with citizens’ and professional NGOs for government financing of their expenditures, and if they fail, they should be dismantled or liquidated. All services that are financed by the State can be contracted. If the incumbent Parliament and Government feel that a radical change in the public sector finance and structure cannot be done during their incumbency, let’s adopt a proper law to enforce from July 1, 2012. Let’s allow time to our society, the State and the citizens to prepare.
Speaking of the public sector, please resolve the Stock Exchange and MIAT issues promptly. These two organizations keep blocking the door to many opportunities for Mongolia. Equally critical is the construction of the 5th power station – should we linger with the construction, we may end up in a serious energy crisis. I ask the State Great Khural and the Government to begin from tomorrow on, after having completed the honoring of the 20th anniversary of the Parliament today, laying foundation to our country’s development in the coming 20 years. And to this cause, I dedicated some of the ideas above.
Developing countries are likely to encounter a challenge in the coming years. The burden of the nascent, surviving middle class and of the citizens who have been subsisting hardly is likely to increase. The government or transnational companies are likely to engage in most profitable businesses. Ordinary citizens and small and medium businesses are likely to fall under the pressure of the most expensive money, high interest rates and least profitable works. The cream is to be collected by the government and foreigners, and the poors and small businesses are going to survive on leftovers. In this way, the middle class, the core carrier of the social progress and sustainability, is going to shrink and squeezed out by the state and large enterprises and entities. This is an emerging challenge to resource-rich and open, but poor and developing countries. We should accord concerted attention to this issue and should reflect remedial measures in our laws and policies. A month ago, I spoke about the issue in Brussels, the center of Europe. And am repeating those words here in this Hall.
Distinguished Members of Parliament,
I conclude my speech with positive news. A few days ago I met with IMF representatives. Mongolia has successfully completed the implementation of our program with the IMF. Mongolia’s success is a rare success story in our region and among the countries that were in transition in the past 20 years. It is truly good news that Mongolia has become capable to carry on our development issues independently, by ourselves, without any programs and assistance of any international financial organization.
Entire Mongolian society, our economy, private sector, financial system are all growing self-reliant and self-sustainable. Mongolia is seeing her first private company with billion dollars resources. It is truly encouraging that our national companies have matured to meet the standards and earn the trust of international banks and financial organizations with tough and high criteria.
The mentality, scope of thinking of the Mongolians, especially, of our youth has reached beyond the world average. Our people’s confidence in our tomorrow, in their own selves and in success is being consolidated and increasing. More and more often have we begun learning of Mongolians’ success and records of achievement in sports, culture, arts and business. And most importantly, at the twenty years’ height of our new choice Mongolians are optimistically discussing our future, new opportunities, solutions and options upon carefully analyzing our past mistakes, failures and challenges.
I am confident in the bright future of our country and my people. The guarantors of Mongolia’s prosperity, development and success are the justice- and freedom-loving Mongolian people. The greatest power of our society are the people who believe in themselves, who share common values and interests, who appreciate the essence of a free society and who know their positions in that free society. No red-tape, no dull officials, no backward and diffident system would ever survive in such a society.
On this auspicious date of commemorating a historic anniversary of establishment of Mongolia’s first, democratic permanent Parliament, as the Head of State of Mongolia, I can proudly state one conclusion. That is, Parliamentarism is established in Mongolia. Parliamentarism has proven itself to be consistent with the common interests and benefits of the Mongolian people. Parliamentary democracy shall be further streamlined by citizens’ participation and representation.
Mongolian people do possess a sacred and rich pool of traditions of statehood. And we all share a genuinely civil, time-tested principle – what is done with accord is right. In 2011, Mongolia will commemorate the 2220th anniversary of Mongolia’s Statehood. These days we spoke about the last 20 years of life of our millennia-old State. I wish success to my people.
May Mongolian State Dwell Eternally.
- 2012-07-03 12:37:41
- President Elbegdorj gives directions to the Government
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- 2012-06-27 12:30:35
- Conversation with Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia
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- 2012-06-08 17:48:50
- MONGOLIAN PRESIDENT URGES GLOBAL SUPPORT FOR ANTI- CORRUPTION EFFORTS
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- 2012-05-29 13:33:37
- WE ARE BUILDING A SOCIETY WHICH ENABLES INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE GROWTH, WHERE MINING IS ONE OF THE MANY SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY
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- 2012-01-09 13:32:33
- Decree of the President of Mongolia Ts. Elbegdorj on Setting Up Official Date to Celebrate the Great Khan’s Birthday
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- 2013-05-18 21:47:46
- Remarks by Mr. Puntsagiin TSAGAAN Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia at the TarbosaurusBataar Return Ceremony
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- 2013-04-30 11:19:25
- Transcripts of the speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at a public lecture held jointly with President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in Ulaanbaatar, April 30, 2013.
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- 2013-04-29 12:29:27
- CLOSING STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TSAKHIAGIIN ELBEGDORJ, PRESIDENT OF MONGOLIA, AT THE VII CD MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
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- 2013-04-29 10:31:30
- SPEECH BY H.E. MR. TAKHIAGIIN ELBEGDORJ, PRESIDENT OF MONGOLIA, AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE SEVENTH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF THE COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES
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