PNG Government intact: O’Neill
22 January, 2019, 6:31 pm
PORT MORESBY, 22 JANUARY 2019 (THE NATIONAL) – Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has rubbished a claim by the Opposition that eight MPs from the Government side are crossing the floor, saying it is coming from “desperate people”.
“Their statement cannot be trusted – just desperate people calling all sorts of names and numbers,” he said.
Shadow Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua said the names of the eight MPs would be revealed today when Parliament convenes.
The Opposition is trying to secure the 56 votes needed to pass a vote of no-confidence motion it intends to move when the grace period of the current Government expires on Feb 5.
“The people of this country are crying for change, so we have to start somewhere, we have to start small,” Kua said.
“Eight Government MPs have joined us. If eight can cross the floor, then it’s a good thing. We invite parties, coalitions, members of government to hear the cries of their people and take time to consider.”
But O’Neill told The National that he was not aware of any MP on the Government bench crossing the floor.
He challenged Kua and his Opposition MPs to name the eight.
Opposition MPs during a press conference last Friday announced their intention to go ahead a vote of no confidence motion.
Kua accused the current government of lacking transparency and accountability. “We think it’s time. All this must stop. So when the grace period ends on Feb 5, we will file for a motion of no-confidence.”
Kua called on the people to support the “cause”.
“Since December, we have been working towards the vote of no confidence and with the support we’ve received, I believe the country stands ready to change,” he said.
Samarai Murua MP Leonard Isi Henry listed some of what needed to be changed.
“Rising costs of goods and services, high tax rates – we have to do something now,” he said.
“We need good leadership and transparency.
“I as a leader of my people have to stand up for them. I am very happy to see eight members of government joining us.”
Moresby North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta called on the people to support the vote of no-confidence motion.
“It’s not too late for us. We can still save this country and we must act now.”
Clerk to Parliament Vela Konivaro said Parliament would resume its sitting today for up to two weeks. It means that it rise well before Feb 5.