NFP leader ordered out of Parliament

Opposition members of Parliament and NFP members, Professor Biman Prasad (centre) with Prem Singh (left) and Parmod Chand (right) outside of Parliament. Picture: FT FILE

NATIONAL Federation Party leader and Opposition member of Parliament Professor Biman Prasad was yesterday suspended from Parliament for 10 minutes.

Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni suspended Prof Prasad citing Standing Order 75, saying the MP on several occasions had failed to adhere to rulings made by her.

NFP MP Parmod Chand questioned Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on why domestic airfares were expensive, giving the airfare from Labasa to Suva as an example.

Mr Chand had used the term “monopoly’ while asking his question, saying that the airfare after eight seats were booked on an aircraft was between $300 to $400, saying it was not good for the country.

In response to the statement made by Mr Chand, the minister said the airfare to Labasa had dropped significantly, denying the claims by Mr Chand that the Suva-Labasa route was only being serviced by one operator and said the term monopoly should not be used.

“The airfare to Labasa has dropped, there is competition, I know the owner of Northern Air is a former candidate of NFP, maybe that’s why they’re talking about it. Northern Air also flies to Labasa, so there is competition. It is irresponsible for the honourable member to say there is monopoly on that route,” the minister said.

“The reality is Northern Air gets subsidies and for other routes, you have to bid for it, get your facts right. These people come here to further personalise agendas.”

Prof Prasad rose on a point of order, saying Mr Sayed-Khaiyum should stop referring to the NFP members as those wanting to personalise matters.

He said Mr Chand’s question was important.

Dr Luveni rejected Prof Prasad’s point of order.

Prof Prasad replied it was a point of order, to which the A-G responded saying Prof Prasad cannot respond to the Speaker’s ruling.

“Madam Speaker I’d like to deviate, with respect, when you make a ruling and say it’s not a point of order, the honourable member cannot say it is a point of order, he is not the Speaker,” he said.

“The Speaker has said it is not a point of order and while sitting down, he (Prof Prasad) is saying it is a point of order. Who is he to say that? Who is he to say that when the Speaker said it is not point of order? You are not the Speaker. Get it right.”

Under Standing Order 75, the Speaker may order any member whose conduct is highly disorderly or repeatedly violates the Standing Orders to withdraw immediately from Parliament or a period of time that the Speaker decides, being no more than the remainder of that sitting day.