[EDITORIALS] Don't They See We Are Disgusted?
The adoption of a bill aimed at preventing money laundering is again being delayed at the National Assembly. The bill seemed to be on the fast track when Lee Hoi-chang, president of the Grand National Party decided on Friday to include political funds in the bill. However, the endorsement was postponed again that afternoon after legislators at a party lawmakers' meeting insisted on "a preventive mechanism to forestall it from being exploited by those in power." In the end, Mr. Lee also adopted the legislators' opinion and directed the provision of a preventive system.
Passing bills at the National Assembly will be difficult for some time, as the term of session agreed upon by the ruling and opposition camps concluded last weekend and legislators can no longer be kept from leaving the country. It is lamentable that a large number of legislators across the board left the assembly, refusing to cooperate with the bill's passage after the announcement on Friday that both camps had agreed to include political funds in the bill.
Legislators are showing allergic reactions to the incorporation of political funds among items punishable for money laundering, because of their own lingering attachment to black money. Once the bill is passed, political funds could not be kept in accounts under false or other names, and politicians and accomplices laundering political funds could be penalized.
It is true that the law could be exploited to crack down on the opposition or to target individual politicians. The opposition legislators' demand for preventive measures is understandable. But the provision of illegal political funds and the politics-business symbiosis must be uprooted. There would be no reason for legislators to disapprove the bill if they received political funds legally.
The exclusion of political funds and tax evasion from the bill, in which both ruling and opposition legislators in the Finance and Economy Committee connived, was overturned by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, because political corruption has reached the limits of our patience. The recent delivery to the National Assembly of a box of excrement, along with a message berating politicians, shows the surpassing level of distrust that people harbor for politicians. If legislators truly understood the situation, in which politics are so denigrated that a large number of people expressed utter satisfaction with an incident too revolting to even speak of, they should expedite the adoption of the bill.