NEWS

‘Shame On NFP, SODELPA’

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said  it was a shame the Opposition boycotted Parliament yesterday. The Attorney-General said the Opposition missed an opportunity to debate a landmark piece of legislation.
23 May 2015 10:35
‘Shame On NFP,  SODELPA’

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said  it was a shame the Opposition boycotted Parliament yesterday.

The Attorney-General said the Opposition missed an opportunity to debate a landmark piece of legislation.

He was referring to the new Companies Bill 2015. He expressed regret about the Opposition’s course of action.

The boycott, according to the Opposition, was in response to the two-year suspension of Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

In Parliament yesterday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “This is the second time, in this parliament’s history, since last year that the second substantive piece of law or matter has been brought to Parliament where they are absent.”

The Opposition also walked out of Parliament last year during the 2015 National

Budget debate in December. Members of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) had also boycotted the inaugural address to a special parliamentary sitting by visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November, last year.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Today, we have the Companies Bill with 752 sections, a substantive piece of document. Again, they are not here. As we’ve said, and you yourself have said, Madam Speaker, and visitors who visited this Parliament, a truestrong Opposition that puts ministers on the spot or asks the right questions to elucidate issues not for the sake of political gain, but to inform the public and to get this side of the House to critically think.”

“Friday is reserved fully for the Opposition and so this is the day apart from the normal question time, they bring about adjournment motions, they bring out other motions so they obviously have forgone that opportunity and it is quite a shame.”

The Bill was passed without any objections.

The Opposition had informed Speaker Jiko Luveni of their intentions to boycott in a meeting yesterday morning. They had also asked if their questions to Government Ministers could be tabled at the next sitting of Parliament.

Government Whip Semi Koroilavesau asked that the Opposition’s questions not be accommodated in the July sitting, but Dr Luveni said she had already allowed the questions to be considered.

In a statement posted online, Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa said the joint caucus had agreed to protest yesterday, what they described as ‘excessive punishment’ against Ratu Naiqama.

Ro Teimumu and most members of the Opposition met at their parliamentary office during the sitting of Parliament yesterday. SODELPA parliamentarians declined to comment yesterday, when approached.

The joint Opposition caucus is expected to meet next week to discuss their next course of action.

Feedback:  litia.cava@fijisun.com.fj

 




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