Legislative tyrannyAll lawmakers pledge to “abide by the Constitution and strive to enhance individual freedom and wellbeing.” The members of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) also would have made the oath. But its streak of bulldozing through controversial laws ahead of the Mar. 9 presidential election next year raises serious questions if they have any regard for the Constitution or the wellbeing of the people.
A case in point is the DP’s move to pass the amendment to the Medical Act to mandate the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras in surgical rooms. There has been growing calls for mandatory recording of plastic and spine surgeries due to frequent medical accidents. But before legislating a regulation, a thorough examination and discussion on the social cost is necessary.
The effect of CCTV installation is questionable. Even when hospitals spend much money on installing cameras in operating rooms, the entire surgery process cannot be filmed. But the social cost is huge. The Korean Medical Association (KMA) claims that the bill regards doctors as potential criminals. Doctors and medical staff must be creative and proactive during surgery against all odds, but they could turn passive if they are aware of CCTVs over their heads. Patents’ privacy is another matter. No countries compel the installation of CCTV cameras in operating rooms.
The DP claims there is enough protection with a grace period of two years and filming only upon patient’s request. Still, the KMA plans to file a suit with the Constitutional Court.
The DP’s unilateral passage of a revised bill on the Private School Act also stoked controversy. The revision calls for authorizing the education superintendent to administer the written test for recruiting teachers. The plan would seriously undermine private education’s sovereignty. The Gyeonggi Province Education Superintendent even threatened to deny subsidies to schools that refuse to comply with the plan. The association of private elementary, middle and high schools is protesting the regulation violating the Constitution which ensures independence of private education institutions.
The Media Mediation Act amendment was pushed with similar force. The DP has been railroading such controversial bills by labeling the regulatory subjects as potential crime-committing institutions. It exaggerates small follies and ignores the greater good. Its prescription is extreme and challenges the Constitution.
A bill on protecting and supporting victims of sexual labor by the Japanese imperial army jointly motioned by Yoon Mee-hyang of the DP also proposes a banning of “describing the truth” about organizations involved in support for the victims. The DP should be ashamed of its party name bearing “Democratic.”