National Assembly Deputy Pham Thi Loan has said that Vietnam’s National Assembly deputies have earned a reputation for passivity. It seems they would much prefer discussing topics presented to them, rather than spread their wings and widen their remit of discussion. She believes National Assembly delegates have become too passive.
A meeting at the 5th session of the 13th National Assembly
The proposed change to the country’s name has been a hot issue on the NA’s agenda over recent days. Some deputies agreed on maintaining the current name, however, they required a persuasive explanation, including Deputy Phan Dinh Trac from Nghe An Province, who is also Deputy Head of the Central Committee for Internal Affairs. He remained unconvinced by the quality of the arguments used to maintain the country's current name.
However, a number of deputies disagreed, with claiming to be disappointed at withdrawal of the proposal by the Committee for Redrafting the 1992 Constitution.
Deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City expressed his disappointment at the revision committee not allowing the National Assembly to make a decision on the name by sending a direct message to President Truong Tan Sang, saying that, “Mr President, I could not find any word to describe my disappointment.”
However, this article isn’t about whether the country’s name should be changed or not, but instead another question about the lack of initiative from National Assembly delegates.
National Assembly Deputy Pham Thi Loan was cited as saying that, “I recognise that for a long time, a phenomenon that could be called “take what is given” has existed among National Assembly deputies. It means that they only discuss an issue only when it is submitted to them, while ignoring other issues which have not been submitted. As a result, many issues which are not in urgent need of discussion are tabled while many things which should be dealt with immediately are not talked about.
At this National Assembly session, through the press’s reflection, many National Assembly deputies have shown their desire to discuss whether the country’s name should be changed or not. Nevertheless, at the last minute, the Committee for Redrafting the 1992 Constitution did not submit the country’s name change plan to the National Assembly.
“In my own capacity, I think that National Assembly deputies have the complete right to ask the committee for the discussion to be submitted for debate, as a way of ending their long-term passivity,” Loan said.
Based on what have been happening, Deputy Loan’s assessments are not groundless.
The National Assembly’s decision to table a discussion on the country’s name to the agenda does not only indicate the National Assembly’s democracy and power (or the people’s power) but also helps to raise the legislative body’s sense of initiative.
The power of the National Assembly is the power of the electorate, and should reflect its role as the representative of the people.
So what does that say about the National Assembly’s “passivity” and it’s discussions about what is only submitted to them and the views of Deputy Pham Thi Loan?