Improving the Assembly

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Improving the Assembly

An advisory committee to improve the management of the National Assembly has put forward a reform proposal containing many suggestions.

The proposal will have to undergo thorough discussion at public hearings, but the purpose is to enhance the efficiency of the National Assembly. The ruling and opposition parties should put together a special committee and reform the Assembly based on the proposal.

The political realm is where there is the greatest amount of excess in Korean society. The ongoing economic crisis is another sign that politics needs to be reformed.

Some argue that the National Assembly inspections, during which all kinds of shenanigans occurred, should not take place all at once in September, but should be calendared reasonably by each standing committee between May and August.

This way, hasty investigations can be avoided and results can be reflected in budget and legislation proposals during the National Assembly’s regular session. We must also examine the possibility of ending the National Assembly inspections if the Board of Audit is transferred to come under the Assembly’s auspices, as in the United States, through constitutional amendment.

The advisory committee proposed the year-round operation of the National Assembly. The standing committee system should be revamped and sub-committees created under each standing committee. Each standing committee should form four or five sub-committees for each task and hold discussion forums with the directors and responsible officials at the ministries.

The advisory committee also proposed improving the questioning of the government. Lawmakers mistakenly believe that they increase their authority by shouting at ministers and getting involved in a verbal war. As each legislator is given only a short time to ask questions, they repeatedly pose the same ones - those questions calculated to spark media interest. As such, it is difficult to expect real improvement in policies.

A few days ago, Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Jong-kul told Kang Man-soo, minister of strategy and finance, “As you don’t seem like a real minister, call in the vice-minister instead.” It was an inappropriate thing to say to a minister who is responsible for the country’s economic policies.

The current practice of questioning the administration, during which ministers are called in and quizzed haphazardly, should end.
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