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Ts.Oyungerel: Regardless of the government, culture, sports and tourism issues should never be neglected or forgotten

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

Mongolia’s new ministers were appointed on December 10. The former Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), established during the Reform Government, has now been split and integrated into other ministries at the orders of the new Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Former Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism and MP Ts.Oyungerel gave an interview regarding the appointment of new ministers.

You’ve been managing the MCST for over two years. Unfortunately, the government was reformed and the ministry has been shut down. Can you comment on this?

Last Tuesday morning, I gathered all staff at the ministry and passed my work to the three new ministers.  First, Minister D.Oyunkhorol came. We weren’t able to present all the works completed in the past but we separately introduced works that have started and all necessary works that need to be continued. Particularly, draft laws about tourism, casino, and carousel; development plan for a national tourism program; and communication, paperwork, payments, and major decisions made in the past two years within the scope of Mongolia participating in the world’s largest trade show for the travel industry, the ITB Berlin 2015. I delivered data about a website for promoting Mongolia to international tourists, and documents as well as yearly travel calendars for promoting Mongolia to foreign markets.

The Calendar for 2015 has to be developed in December. I advised that it’s more effective if the management for tourist attractions and sites are consistent to environmental policies. Like so, I handed active works, investments, regulations, and documents prepared for national and governmental programs.

Afterwards, I introduced previous and currently active as well as planned works for the sports sector to Minister of Health G.Shiilegdamba. I emphasized that the sports sector should be focused on supporting and encouraging events and measures, rather than jotting down highlights of the sports sector on paper. As it’s effective to select sport teams and athletes and support together with [sports] associations, I mainly discussed about how to work professionally. I’ve also briefed about pending works for previous competitions for the Olympics, and the process for pursuing awaiting investments for sports venues and documents for draft laws for sports sector.

I requested all the ministers to pay special attention to the low salary and neglected social issues of our sector.

How confident are you about the new minister not neglecting the sports sector?

Minister G.Shiilegdamba seemed to be confident that the attention on sports sector will not be reduced. I requested the new minister to keep the current sports team as they have been selected from a completely honest and fair selection process, without influences from some party or acquaintances. Workload for the Ministry of Health will increase immensely. Adding sports sector while the ministry is barely coping with the current work will escalate workload. Government work will progress smoothly if a professional team works and the sector isn’t pushed out of focus. I’m concerned about the high attention previously put on the sports sector would become weaker.

Will former employees who were under your management keep their position?

I introduced the staff from each sector to the ministers and handed their materials. All three ministers informed that they would review the structures of their newly constructed ministries. They said that job positions within the structure will be finalized after discussing with the Ministry of Finance and the government. Currently, it’s unclear where employees at out ministry will be reassigned. I’m expecting them to work at ministries of their respective sector.

The issue to liquidating the MCST has been raised since the former PM N.Altankhuyag suggested a structural change but was dismissed. Isn’t it regrettable that the ministry has been shut down in the end?

Indeed, it’s regrettable. All three sectors combined together to promote Mongolia and increase awareness when they were under the same roof. It’s unfortunate that this process will be split to different routes. Still, the government resolution must be fulfilled. We’re not doing our personal work. In a democratic government, works must be changed according to decisions to reform the government.

No matter how the government functions, cultural, sports and tourism issues shouldn’t be neglected or forgotten. I’m satisfied that the three ministers reviewed former works for each sector, perceived the amount of time and effort spent on them with their own eyes.

The MPP collateralized the V.I.Lenin Museum in Mongolia. Has this issue been resolved?

The V.I.Lenin Museum became a state-owned property, was registered in the real estate registration, and received its land certificate. It has undeniably become a state property. Now, officials are discussing if a state property can be used as collateral for an individual’s loan. We appealed to the court that this sort of act shouldn’t be permitted. This work was passed onto the next minister. It’s included in the 41 work reports I handed in.

Several members of the MPP claimed the MCST was useless and should be shut down. Could this be a revenge for declaring  the V.I.Lenin Museum, previously owned by the MPP, as a state property?

I don’t wish to comment on this. I completed a work of the government. I registered a state property as the state’s because the state didn’t privatize, trade, or gift it. I wouldn’t have appealed if it had been privatized. At the time, MPs, employees of the National Circus and local residents were requesting me to return the National Circus to the state. I was solid on the fact that the state shouldn’t reclaim a property that’s been privatized. The V.I.Lenin Museum was a state property and I worked to register it to its rightful owner [the state]. Nobody should be accounting on this. Since the process was conducted transparently before everyone, I guess you can express your disapproval.

You were able to discover the trade network that was illegally smuggling cultural heritages to foreign countries. It must have been difficult to expose this trade secretly conducted for many years, right?

As if they had known the MCST would get shut down, three large science magazines of the world praised our ministry in their magazine, just recently. The articles mentioned that Mongolia was taking courageous steps in stopping illegal trade network for cultural heritages. They had published an article with my picture with a heading saying, “The Woman Who Saved Mongolia’s Dinosaurs”. This shows that Mongolia has become a strong country that can protect, stop and reclaim its cultural heritages from illegal trade networks. The ministry worked with a specific policy for this issue. In other words, we worked under the policy to find the final purchaser and attack. Or else, it would’ve been impossible to expose a network with so many trade procedures in just two years. Mongolia has been stopping illegal trades by cooperating with the Federal Law Enforcement in the U.S. to discover the final network that displays cultural heritages.

A French company that couldn’t be caught in the French market was exposed while trading Mongolian dinosaur fossil in an American market. That French company returned the Mongolian cultural heritages they had through their embassy. The Mongolian Embassy in France will receive dinosaur fossils to return to Mongolia and Minister L.Gantumur will bring it to Mongolia.

It’s extremely difficult to find the head of a network based in the European market. As it requires considerable amount of legal costs, we have to sign many agreements and bring back smuggled relics via donations through museums. We were able to negotiate this sort of agreement with a museum in Berlin. This agreement will be signed under the title of the new ministry. I believe that when this sort of signal is received, market prices will drop, interests for purchasing will lessen, and illegal trade will stop.

People are opposing “Mongol Content” included in the draft law on culture, which hopes to increase Mongolian content in local media, as an attempt to silence private television broadcasts. Can you comment on this?

This draft law was submitted last June. The time to discuss this issue happened to be arranged when the ministry was shut down. I was strongly demanded to submit this draft law since my appointment as the minister in 2012. I’ve even been invited for an interview on a national television broadcast in 2012 to talk about what should be done to [South] Korean films and foreign contents. I was invited after the initiative to increase Mongolian content transmitted through public media. Basically, the demand for this draft law lasted for many months. We spent considerable time on developing this draft law to ensure adequate calculation and research, and submitted it last summer.

I’m not disappointed that the time for its discussion was arranged like this. It will not affect the television sector negatively. The draft law on culture only requests to broadcast Mongolian films on specific time.

Even though you’ve been dismissed, will you be initiating, proposing and supporting draft laws for arts and culture as a MP?

Ministers of Culture do give up their posts but they still work for the culture. Even now, former Minister of Education, Culture and Science Yo.Otgonbayar is working as the main support for draft laws on cultural heritages and library. Following his example, I will support the three ministers when an issue about culture, sports and tourism is raised in the future. I will work just like the previous statesmen. I’d like to wish good luck to the three ministers who received my work.

 

Source: http://politics.news.mn/content/198222.shtml

 

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Posted by on Dec 14 2014. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Ts.Oyungerel: Regardless of the government, culture, sports and tourism issues should never be neglected or forgotten”

  1. I would like to congratulate MP Oyungerel Ts. on all that she achieved as Minister. In particular, she changed Mongolia for ever by demonstrating that dinosaurs are part of its history, patrimony and culture, when she brought T. bataar back to Mongolia. Her contribution to Mongolian culture will continue, not least, through her writing, and Mongolians of all ages await, eagerly, the sequel to the bestseller “The Green-Eyed Lama.”

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