Analysis

Embarrassing Twist To MP’s Tinned Fish Stunt

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission was told by the Motibhai Group of Companies that the TAN brand mackerel was never exported to Malaysia.
03 Aug 2020 10:31
Embarrassing Twist To MP’s Tinned Fish Stunt
TAN Mackerel.

National Federation Party’s Lenora Qereqeretabua’s tinned fish stunt in Parliament has had yet another embarrassing twist.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission was told by the Motibhai Group of Companies that the TAN brand mackerel was never exported to Malaysia.

She had said: “On June 29th 2018, Malaysia’s Ministry of Health ordered this very brand to be taken off supermarket shelves. Why? Because this fish had been found to contain round worms! And yet this is what our Government gave to people in Kadavu? And who knows where else?”

FCCC started receiving complaints and concerns from Fijians after this statement and a Facebook post.

“We urge Fijians to be responsible and do proper research before making statements, especially if they hold some degree of influence. People must realise that they are responsible to uphold ethics and not spread misinformation,” said FCCC General Manager Operations, Seinikavika Juita.

FCCC has confirmed with Motibhai that as for the claims that Tan Sardines or for that matter any other Tan canned fish were banned in Malaysia is highly inaccurate and incorrect.

Motibhai has raised this with their supplier Zhangzhou Tan Co. Ltd, who have confirmed that they have not exported any Tan brand of canned mackerel or sardines to Malaysia and also that they have never received any ban or restriction from local government or Sanitary & Health Department due to any quality issue. FCCC has obtained written confirmation on this.

“If any Fijian, Member of Parliament or otherwise, believes there is a consumer rights breach, they need to follow the proper channels and report it to the FCCC instead of putting out false information which can cause national panic.”

What about compensation?

We have regularly called on the Members of Parliament to be held responsible for their uttering in Parliament.

Imagine if supermarkets had this product on their shelves or in their inventory – who would buy this after a cheap short was taken in Parliament?

This harms competition as it eliminates a brand from the market and to make matters worse Motibhai cannot take any legal action because Ms Qereqeretabua is protected by parliamentary privilege.

Who will compensate Motibhai for the harm created by someone’s lack of research and eagerness to score a cheap political point? If Ms Qereqeretabua was really serious about protecting consumer rights then why did she not lodge a complaint and have it investigated?

We urge all political parties to hold their MPs to account. We had one SODELPA MP urging people to engage in panic buying, another calling any coronavirus vaccine as an attempt to insert chips in people and now this.

Has our Parliament become a joke for such opposition MPs?

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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