It’s not too latePresident Roh Moo-hyun is pushing forward with his idea of amending the Constitution, and it is leading to waste and side effects. Mr. Roh is expected to present the amendment bill early next month.
Nowadays, government ministries and agencies are busy sending e-mails to academia, media and opinion leaders to publicize the constitutional amendment. The Commerce Ministry, Civil Service Commission and National Youth Commission appear to have no direct relation to the constitutional amendment, but they are also trying hard to provide publicity for the amendment.
The government held a public hearing last Thursday, and it plans to hold others around the country. It is obvious that another large number of government officials will be mobilized for publicity and will show up at the public hearings. Government officials have a pile of work to do, but now, it appears that they have to turn their backs on their work in order to participate in the public hearings.
Besides this, taxpayers’ money is also being wasted for this ado about the constitutional amendment. A government committee to support the constitutional amendment made a Web site designed to publicize the amendment bill. The Government Information Agency made 1 million copies of a brochure about the constitutional revision to distribute this week. The government has already started to run advertisements on major Internet portal sites supporting the constitutional amendment. The government is only making use of media that is government-friendly; it is not giving the advertisements to major news outlets.
The advertisements on those portal sites repeat President Roh’s claim that the constitutional amendment to give future presidents four-year terms with a chance of re-election is a “chance for national progress.”
The constitutional amendment is a policy that the majority of the public is against. And it is the president that is presenting the amendment bill. The whole administration is not making the presentation.
Therefore, it is more a specific policy of powerful politicians. Therefore, it is wrong to mobilize civil servants, who should remain politically neutral.
An even bigger problem is that the administration is wasting the taxpayers’ money for a policy formed by the political elite. The administration should stop mobilizing the government system for its obstinate aim. It’s not too late for them to give up presenting the amendment bill.