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[EDITORIALS]Drop bulletproof shield

Politicians are going ahead with a “bulletproof shield” session of the National Assembly on Aug. 1. Their brazenness is disgraceful. They are indifferent to what the voters or civic groups might think. Expecting anything of them is futile activity.
They would be unassailable if they were planning to listen to the public’s needs and make laws to better their lives. But they are just coming off an extra session in July and will meet again in September for the regular session. There can be no other conceivable reason for agreeing across party lines for the August session than to shield a few of their own from punishment. When you look at the schedule for the upcoming session, their evasive intent is obvious. With all the vacations and trips abroad planned, committees will meet three or four days at most, and the plenary session will be called no more than once or twice. No wonder there is a call to scrap the immunity from arrest for lawmakers during an Assembly session.
The parties say they plan to take up the five-day workweek bill, legislation of a work-permit system for foreign laborers and a special law for providing manpower at small businesses. These are urgent matters that ought to have been handled in July. The lawmakers had more than enough time, but they kept putting other things ahead of work. And even if extra time is needed, one week in August is surely enough. And the politicians’ nerve to say that they are addressing “urgent business that affects the livelihood of people” is utterly amazing.
There is no way other than “comedy” to describe the scene of attack on the prosecution by Representative Park Joo-sun of the Millennium Democratic Party, standing alongside its Chairman Chyung Dai-chul -- both implicated in bribery cases. The opposition’s criticism of Mr. Chyung is laughable. It agreed to the session to protect its own member, Park Myung-hwan. To avoid disgracing the entire political establishment, the Assembly must pass the motion allowing the three men’s arrests. Reform-minded politicians who were busy vowing to shed the old ways should come forward.
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