Throw the bum out

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Throw the bum out

A disciplinary subcommittee of the National Assembly’s Special Ethics Committee finally voted in favor of ousting representative Kang Yong-seok for the controversial, ribald comments he made at a dinner with female students. The National Assembly, which has been dilly-dallying on a punitive action against Kang for 10 months now, has at last put its foot down on the issue of ethically challenged lawmakers.

As a matter of fact, the legislative body has fell far out of public favor for its lack of moral standards. Its members have disappointed and appalled the public time after time with their absence of morality, virtue and the dignity befitting their status as representatives of the people.

What’s worse, the legislative body turned a blind eye or did little more than give slaps on the wrist for the misbehavior and actual crimes of its members. Lawmakers, who should set an example for moral standards and social rules, more often than not are the targets of jokes and sneers from the public.

The ethics committee, which has remained stubbornly protective of its members, finally gave in to public demand. Its subcommittee has made a meaningful step by accepting a set of recommendations for punishment for Kang from a civilian advisory committee.

Due to a law revision last year, the National Assembly now has the obligation to pay heed to advice from a civilian board. Before the law was changed, civilians had no direct role in the legislative process and assembly affairs. As a result, our legislators had remained immune from the realm of laws.

Kang’s comments were intolerably offensive to the female population in particular. He told a group of female college students, after one said she wanted to become a newscaster, that she had to be ready to “go all the way” if she wanted to succeed.

Kang showed no sign of remorse or regret after his remarks. Instead he went so far as to sue the journalist who reported his comment and charged the student who testified against him with perjury. But it was Kang who ended up in court for lying.

The ethics committee and the full session of the National Assembly will soon decide on Kang’s fate through their votes. If passed, Kang will become the second person in the history of our National Assembly to be kicked out by his peers. If the National Assembly really cares about its name and how the public views it, it should make the right move before it’s too late.
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