A waste of question timeWhen National Assembly representatives questioned the administration on Tuesday, they exchanged harsh words. Democrat Chun Jung-bae said the incumbent administration was like a force that staged a coup out of greed. Chun likened the administration to despotic King Yeonsangun (1476?1506) of the Joseon Dynasty. He even made comparisons between the recent tragic fire in Yongsan and the massacre in Gwangju in 1980.
After Chun, Kim Hyo-jae of the Grand National Party said, “You may spit out whatever you want, but such words do not make sense to others.”
This is far from the purpose of question time at the National Assembly, and it is truly shameful. Chun’s remarks had nothing to do with policies, and he cannot possibly refer to the administration as a coup - it was chosen through a legitimate election.
The point of questioning the administration is to discuss government policies. The occasion must not be misused for political point-scoring. If legislators want to give voice to one-sided arguments, they don’t need to have the prime minister or government ministers present. Instead, they should take to the streets.
The primary problem is most National Assemblymen lack manners and dignity. What they should be doing is asking about policies during question time and giving voice to legitimate concerns. This they rarely do, and no one knows how long it will take for legislators to develop into better people.
Therefore, the best way forward is to reform how the National Assembly is run to prevent legislators acting in such a disgraceful way.
Short of time, legislators don’t usually go deep when questioning the administration. An opposition party member only has a few minutes to launch an attack on the administration so he tends to make provocative remarks.
If such an event becomes only a political show it is better not to have it at all. If there is a need to have the prime minister and ministers present at the same time and question them about an issue, legislators can use an existing system, an emergency session on pending issues.
To have a more fruitful discussion on policies, a standing committee must operate more actively and questions must be raised and answered one at a time. For deeper deliberation, subcommittee hearings must be held.
Reforms are the quickest way to prevent National Assemblymen bickering.