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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
The Missing Policy Pillar in the Time of Covid-19
Thursday, December 31, 2020
The Missing Policy Pillar in the Time of Covid-19

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan, journalist, in The UB Post (December 24, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Byamba-ochir Byambasuren/ILO)

The Missing Policy Pillar in the Time of Covid-19

All policies carried out by developed, developing and emerging markets can be categorized into two main pillars: supporting households and citizens, and supporting businesses and keeping jobs. When the pandemic hit, the government leaned more towards supporting households, through increasing the child money allowance, improving food coupons and such. On the employment side, the government reduced the social security premium and assisted through unemployment support, which lasted till November. Although household support will continue through to the end of the presidential election in June 2021, there is not much policy targeting retainment of jobs, supporting businesses, and avoiding bankruptcies.

Unless the government addresses the missing pillar, a vicious cycle will harm the people and economy alike in the medium to long term. A cycle of poverty usually starts with unemployment as businesses shed employees or close doors, which concurrently pushes households into poverty as unemployed workers struggle to find a new job.

What is missing – money or political will? It cannot be true that there is no support to save businesses because politicians are such cowards and refuse to spend. If Mongolia is to become a country that propels children to compete on the world level in the near future, we must ensure that their parents at least have a secure job to facilitate that opportunity.

If ailing jobs and companies disappear, it will be at least few times more expensive to create new ones and, more importantly, it will take years to recover to levels prior to Covid-19. Meanwhile, the socio-economic costs will devastate not just the poor, but everyone except the super-rich. In seven months, our country may have a new president, prime minister, and minister of finance. For those seeking the top jobs of the country, one message: Do the right thing and do it now!


Is Corruption the Only Legacy of Mongolian Boomers
Friday, November 6, 2020
Is Corruption the Only Legacy of Mongolian Boomers

Myagmardorj Buyanjargal, writer and translator, in The UB Post (November 4, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: munkhzaya0/Pixabay)

Is Corruption the Only Legacy of Mongolian Boomers

Reports have been made public that the general director of a state-owned mining corporation had used company funds to pay his daughter’s tuition fees at the University of Toronto in Canada. While many considered this a clear example of abuse of power, some also raised the question of whether such a benefit for the director was covered under his contract. 

I believe that it was theft from the state budget. It may very well be true that offering such advantages or benefits to the director could be allowed under a contract to bring good management to state-owned enterprises. However, it does not look like this was the case. There are absolutely reasonable legal grounds to open a criminal case and investigate the issue further unless there is some important information yet unknown to the public. 

People are questioning why it is taking this long for the relevant authorities, such as Independent Authority Against Corruption, to take necessary measures on this case. If we are to believe that Mongolia is a country with a rule of law, rather than a rule of men, the people deserve to know why no follow-up action was taken immediately upon the release of such an allegation of obvious corruption.


Human Rights: Was Giving the Ruling Party Another Landslide Win Worth It?
Monday, August 10, 2020
Human Rights: Was Giving the Ruling Party Another Landslide Win Worth It?

Myagmardorj Buyanjargal, writer, in The UB Post (August 7, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Sasha India)

Human Rights: Was Giving the Ruling Party Another Landslide Win Worth It?

It is not necessary to explain how the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) won another landslide victory in the parliamentary elections. But consider the polls from a human rights perspective.

The most recent potential human-rights violation of the government is that it let a Mongolian woman and male driver stay in no-man’s-land for two days, refusing to let them enter their home country. The student had travelled from the Czech Republic since the government’s efforts to bring back citizens from abroad due to Covid-19 have been dismally slow.

When a large number of Mongolians were demanding that authorities let her in, she was stuck between Mongolia and Russia because customs authorities told her to go back to Russia. While the authenticity of this explanation may be in question, no reasonable man would be surprised if this explanation was authentic as the government closed the border indefinitely in mid-March. We perhaps need to remember that the Constitution prohibits the extradition and exile of citizens to any other country in any case.

Another very clear example of human rights violations would be the decisions issued by the State Emergency Commission (SEC) and the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar ordering mayors of districts not to accept any request to organize any kind of meeting, including peaceful gatherings and protests. According to the Constitution, citizens shall be guaranteed the privilege to enjoy “freedom of thought, free expression of opinion, speech, press, peaceful demonstration and meetings”.

If we follow this pattern of a quiet “abuse” of human rights, it started even before the election. When the authorities have things to hide, most likely there will be human rights violations. Is this the beginning of a gradual undermining of human rights? If so, was it worth giving the MPP another landslide victory?


Distance Learning: Is it Working?
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Distance Learning: Is it Working?

Enkhnaranjav Tumurbaatar, columnist, in The UB Post (April 20, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Distance Learning: Is it Working?

This is the first time that online lessons are being offered due to pandemic prevention in Mongolia. Students have been complaining that e-learning is not effective and some of them have asked for a refund of their tuition.

A student at the Mongolian National University for Science and Technology said: “The courses provided by teachers are ineffective, and most of the materials are searchable on the internet. We lack information on how to register our lesson attendance, when to complete assignments and ways to ask questions from teachers about the things we don't know. Everything is unclear. Provincial students cannot attend classes and drop out. Many students work to earn their tuition fee. Ineffective online lessons are a waste for them.”

A student at the Mongolian National University of Education complained: “It was not possible to attend online classes because of the poor network. When my phone connects with the slow internet, it takes a long time to load. The government's decision neglects provincial students. How can provincial students make up for lost time if they miss classes? We need to be given that opportunity.”

No one was ready for this situation. However, it is a shame that students complain that they don’t want or can't adapt to online classes. Some students are demanding too much – government stipends, free public transportation, and free access to the internet. Students need to understand that they are adults and are responsible for their own welfare. Understanding that the crisis has impacted all of us, not just them, and working with others to find the best way to resume their learning will be a much more effective attitude for achieving their goal. Distance learning itself is not the problem; it is an opportunity that has benefited millions of learners around the globe.