[EDITORIALS]A word to our lawmakersThe people are derisive and contemptuous of the National Assembly on this Constitution Day. Until early last week, the Assembly was ridiculed for not being able to select a speaker for its second term. After a 40-day hiatus, we expected it to focus on matters concerning the public's welfare, but many lawmakers went abroad while the 16th National Assembly was officially in session. We heard that many standing committees are dormant because not enough lawmakers are showing up. But the Assembly is said to be contemplating the construction of another office building for legislators, saying that the current building of 5,200 square meters is too small.
In this period of globalization, diplomatic activities by legislators should be expanded and strengthened. The people are ready and willing to support the National Assembly in this sense. The problem is that most of the legislators go abroad for fun. According to an analysis by the Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice, a civic group, the 15th National Assembly's diplomatic activities consisted mostly of tourism and inspection tours. The people had to put up with legislators who did not work on important legislation because they were consumed with political struggles and jockeyed for their own interests. Again legislators are in a hurry to go abroad in droves.
While neglecting their duties, how could they be so swift to pursue perks and important posts? Legislators shamelessly competed against each other to be assigned to the Construction and Transportation Committee, which is known to be lucrative for its members. On the other hand, the Environment and Labor Committee had to reduce the number of its members by four because not many legislators wanted to join it. The MDP, moreover, assigned a vice speaker and a chairman of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts who cannot actively take part in the panel.
In his address to commemorate Constitution Day, Park Kwan-yong, the speaker of the National Assembly pledged, "We will restore dignity and erase the dishonor of the so-called rubber stamp legislature that passed laws sent by the government." But how many more times do we have to celebrate Constitution Day before the National Assembly finally stands on its own feet?