Politics

Opposition MPs Protest Against Speaker’s Ruling

Parliamentary Members of the Opposition staged a walk out of Parliament yesterday morning when the first Parliament sitting for the year convened. They walked out after the Speaker of Parliament
09 Feb 2021 08:55
Opposition MPs Protest Against Speaker’s Ruling

Parliamentary Members of the Opposition staged a walk out of Parliament yesterday morning when the first Parliament sitting for the year convened.

They walked out after the Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau ruled against an oral question submitted by the National Federation Party Leader Biman Prasad and an adjournment motion by the Leader of Opposition Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

While SODELPA MPs returned to Parliament after the morning tea break, the three NFP MPs chose to stay out of Parliament for the remainder of the day.

While making his ruling, Ratu Epeli said he was notified that Mr Prasad wanted to ask an urgent question.

However, he ruled against it saying it was not of urgent character nor is it of public importance.

The question submitted by Mr Prasad was for the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration Voreqe Bainimarama to inform Parliament of the specific breaches of Section 13 of the Immigration Act committed by Professor Pal Ahluwalia and his wife Sandra Price.

The couple were detained and deported to Brisbane, Australia, last week Thursday after they were deemed a public threat.

In a statement, NFP said Fiji’s credibility as a leading state in the South Pacific region is at stake and so is the future of USP.

“How can the Speaker say that these questions are not urgent or important? The Speaker said that Parliament must “respect the doctrine of separation of powers.” He did not explain what he meant,” NFP said.

“Is he saying that Parliament cannot question the Government? But that is one of the main reasons that Parliament exists. Parliament is there to check on and question the actions of the government in power and the way it behaves.”

Meanwhile, Tui Cakau’s adjournment motion called for Parliament to condemn the revocation of Professor Ahluwalia’s work permit and for government to reverse its decision and apologise to the university, its member countries and students.

SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka said they protested because Parliament was the highest institution in Fiji and the USP Saga needed to be aired out in Parliament.

“People needed to see that the leadership in this country have dialogue of this matter. It was regrettable that it was not allowed, hence the walk out. We would have liked to have dialogue on this matter in totality because a lot of what we hear have been in bits and pieces.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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