PNG Opposition Withdraws No-Confidence Period Support
By Isaac Nicholas
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 24, 2013) – The Opposition has made a U-turn by declaring that it will not support the second reading on the proposed Papua New Guinea law that seeks to extend the grace period for votes of no-confidence from 18-30 months.
Leader Belden Namah, who was flanked by his members, told a press conference at Parliament House in Port Moresby yesterday that the Opposition was talking with other political parties and individual MPs not to support the motion on the second reading.
He also warned MPs that they should be cautious that when a Prime Minister was safe, they could be used as rubber stamps to support the Government in pursuing its own agenda without knowing what they were doing. Mr. Namah said the main reason the Opposition had changed its position on the no-confidence motion was because the O’Neill-Dion Government had been reckless and negligent in safeguarding the welfare and interests of Papua New Guinea.
"Papua New Guinea is fast becoming a banana republic. We say, with both anger and sadness, that the O’Neill-Dion Government is a serious national threat to the independence, sovereignty and security of our country," the Opposition leader said.
Mr. Namah said all the actions and inactions of the Government over the last six months were of grave concern to the Opposition.
He said the latest saga, where a chartered jet mysteriously landed in Port Moresby with two naturalized citizens of Vanuatu was one example.
He said PNG’s civil aviation and immigration laws were breached but the Prime Minister had simply swept this saga under the carpet.
Mr. Namah said in a similar case, the O’Neill-Dion Government was harboring an Indonesian and Interpol fugitive who was instantly granted passport under a different name designed to evade Interpol.
"Is this Government sending a message to transnational criminals that PNG is a haven for them as long as it is in government?" he asked.
Mr. Namah said other controversial issues included rushing to approve seabed mining by a care-taker cabinet; the K6 billion [US$2.8 billion] loan from China EXIM bank; the decision to establish asylum seekers detention centre on Manus island; the move to engage 89 Australian advisors in districts; and the relocation of Murray Barracks from NCD to Bootless Bay in Central Province.
"Why is it that the public is not informed on whether or not the K30 million [US$14 million] paid out in advance to a contractor for the failed public service housing project at 8-Mile had been paid back to the State? What about the continuous border incursions and breaches of border protocols by Indonesian soldiers along our border?" Mr. Namah said.
Mr. Namah said the Opposition was concerned about good governance and transparency and the Government’s ability to keep pace and effectively deal with the country’s issues.
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