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Ahn Cheol-soo and his opportunity brought by MERS?

Posted June. 15, 2015 07:05,   


Cho Kuk who doubles professor of School of Law at Seoul National University and a member of innovation at the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) wrote, “Ahn Cheol-soo used to be a doctor. This is a good opportunity to raise his marketability in political arena,” on his Facebook on June 4. This was his advice amid MERS confusion in Korea. “If I were Ahn Cheol-soo, I would visit key hospitals and government’s epidemics centers, wearing a mask and protective-clothing. I would also stand in Gwanghwamun Plaza and denounce the “incompetence of diseases response” by Park Geun-hye administration”, he added. The professor also tweeted on June 6 that “Is the current president of Korea Park Won-sun?” After the press conference about Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus or MERS held in night time on June 4, the approval rate for Mayor Park of Seoul as a next president has topped in the survey of Gallup Korea.

It seemed that Cho’s advice perked up lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo of NPAD, prompting him to plot an important mission. On Saturday, Ahn showed up at a joint conference between Korea and World Health Organization at Central Government Complex. “His access was denied as the WHO requested to grant the access only to reporters. Even government officials were not able to enter,” explained the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Afterwards, Ahn posted on his Facebook, “I confirmed yesterday that the press conference is an official event and went to Sejong city to attend the press conference. The government is making its utmost effort to block the information. I will hold the government responsible for sure.” Some see that what Ahn is doing can be seen as lawmaker’s duty as he is doctor-turned lawmaker who is also a member of Health and Welfare Committee in the National Assembly.

It should be asked, however, that whether any lawmaker from the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, be it a previous prosecutor or judge, has ever appeared in a prosecutor’s press conference of national interest and made questions about this and that. It has never been heard that an international organization WHO had a questions and answers section with a certain politician during its press conference. If a lawmaker has any questions about issues that are under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Health and Welfare, the lawmaker could make a request for relevant information or hold a hearing with state council members. While it is Ahn’s choice to take political advice from professor Cho, he should be aware of the fact that there are time and circumstances to actually execute the advice.