[EDITORIALS]Speaker seems biasedIt is not right that Kim One-ki, speaker of the National Assembly, requested the House Steering Committee to dismiss Choi Kwang, the chief of the Assembly’s Budget Office.
First of all, Mr. Kim must consider the responsibility of the legislative branch that is under his stewardship. Under the spirit of the separation of three powers, the legislature must check and criticize the administration. This is the legislature’s duty as well as responsibility. When the vast power of the administration centered on the president is checked by the Assembly, democracy will be maintained unimpaired.
It might be for the same reason that Mr. Kim discarded his affiliation with the Uri Party upon assuming the speaker’s post. Nevertheless, he now tries to dismiss Mr. Choi for criticizing the government. We wonder whether he intends to turn the legislature into a handmaid of the administration again.
We also wonder whether there were controversial points in Mr. Choi’s remarks. At a seminar last month, he claimed,”The present government is flooded with anti-market economic policies.” As examples, he mentioned the policy requiring builders to reveal the apartment building costs, labor friendly labor policy and new regulations on private schools and the press. These are issues that have been raised many times, by the opposition, neutral economy specialists, and even by government officials. Nevertheless, Mr. Kim takes account of them only because they were made by the chief of the Budget Office. We cannot but ask him whether he intends to make the Assembly turn a deaf ear to the opinion of the public.
The manner of his dismissal was also ugly. Mr. Choi clarified that he had no intention to resign. But Mr. Kim insisted, through his secretary, that Mr. Choi “expressed his intention to return to his university and teach students.” Mr. Kim is also said to have told Mr. Choi, “If you resign from the post, it will help us instill a new image of the Assembly.” We wonder what he means by “new image of the Assembly.”
Mr. Kim pledged to steer the Assembly fairly and impartially. He also boasted, “What shouldn’t be done will never be done, however hard the government party may press me.” But he drives out a senior Assembly official for making critical remarks about the government. Mr. Kim must stop his effort to fire the budget office chief, which shows his narrow-mindedness.