Heated debate on first sitting of Parliament

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the parliament opening yesterday. Picture: RAMA

A HEATED debate erupted between Government and Opposition MPs in Parliament yesterday.

The exchange of words came when a motion was put to the floor by Leader of Government in Parliament, Inia Seruiratu, for the House to adopt the Standing Order that was published and gazetted in 2017.

Speaking on the motion, Leader of Opposition Sitiveni Rabuka said they were uncomfortable with the Standing Order, requesting if amendments could be made.

He claimed the Standing Order did not accommodate the people’s rights to present their petitions like normal practice in a democratic society.

Mr Rabuka said it should be understood that the Opposition represented almost 50 per cent of the voters in the 2018 General Election.

Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate said the Standing Order provided that petitions be addressed in Parliament and that it was unfortunate for the Opposition to mislead people on the first day of Parliament.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said their aim was to run an efficient Parliament and claimed that Opposition had continued to mislead the people.

Mr Seruiratu said the Opposition needed to do their homework before going into Parliament in order to state facts.

SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro said since 2014, Parliament had amended the Standing Order four times.

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