People Power Party floor leader Joo Ho-young said in a parliamentary speech on Wednesday, “The party will cooperate closely if the three rounds of relief funds turn out to work out and funds are granted ‘within the range that can be allowable fiscally’ as President Moon put it.” He also proposed to set up a bipartisan consultative body with the government to facilitate swift and practical assistance to those who suffer the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PPP floor leader added various kinds of relief items to the list of aid programs already designed by the government and the ruling Minjoo Party of Korea. Other than funds for loss compensation and disaster relief, Joo additionally mentioned "emergency survival fund,” "emergency grant to save hometowns” and so on. He even proposed to give the self-employed three months’ exemptions from utility bills including electric charges. The intent of his message seems more focused on sounding more generous than the government and the ruling party, rather than on doing a sharp analysis of the effects of last year's disaster relief program and skimming through fiscal availability as he emphasized earlier.
The main opposition PPP is supposed to cooperate to make swift and reasonable compensations for mom-and-pop stores. However, it is equally important for it to monitor the government and the ruling party to see if tax payers’ money goes down the drain and if grant spending is within fiscal budget so that any wrongdoings can be corrected. It does not make any sense that the PPP scrambles to give out a bag of tax payers’ money to win the hearts of voters prior to the upcoming Seoul and Busan mayoral elections in April. The opposition party had mocked the administration as a government running on suspense payments.
Regarding the pan-ruling bloc's unilateral rush in government affairs, Joo said, “Confirmation hearings are ridiculed as obsolete and useless.” However, the opposition party is to blame for the feebleness and helpless that it has showed on the stage of confirmation hearings where it is supposed to take the lead. Given that it was not being proactive but reactive, public criticism may have been leveled at the usefulness of confirmation hearings.
Amid such situations, the PPP gave out written guidelines to brand the government and the ruling party as sex offenders during the upcoming parliamentary interpellation session. One of the opposition party's innate responsibilities is to criticize government policies and propose solutions. However, if the interpellation session is solely about stigmatizing the government and the ruling party, chances are that it will be smudged with blame and criticism, rather than serving as an agora for policy discussion. The opposition party has to avoid using political tactics to wage an accusatory battle and make a focused effort to arrange political topics, which can give them the lead in governance. Main opposition lawmakers should keep in mind that change is supposed to start from within. When they fulfill their fundamental responsibilities, they can have the power to hold back the government and the ruling party's unilateral rush so that check and balance can work out across the governance arena. For now, the opposition party has a long way to go.