Government defers Maladina bill
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE controversial Maladina amendments will not be voted on in this sitting of Parliament.
The government decided to defer the final reading, and give the Parliamentary Committee on the Ombudsman Commission to conduct awareness.
Cabinet and the government caucus reached this decision yesterday after protest marches were held in Port Moresby and Lae against the amendments to the Constitution, which many argue would weaken the powers of the Ombudsman Commission.
In Parliament yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare hit out at the Ombudsman Commission, NGO and civil society groups and media for misleading the people that Parliament wanted to destroy the Constitution and remove powers of the commission.
He told Parliament after the government caucus amid pressure from public demonstrations decided to postpone the amendments and allow the Parliamentary Committee to carry out a country-wide awareness and consultation before the final reading.
He said Parliament had passed section 27 (4) of the Constitution in relation to the Ombudsman Commission and the amendments to the Organic Law on duties and responsibilities of leadership was to give effect to the Constitutional amendment.
Sir Michael said the amendment was not in any way removing the powers of the Ombudsman Commission but to define the commission’s responsibilities.
“We want the Organic Law to define clear responsibilities of the commission.
“Parliament does not want to remove the Ombudsman Commission.
“I wrote the constitution. My name is Michael Thomas Somare. We are legislators. If we find the constitution is not right, we must change it.
“Some people on the streets are claiming they are representing the people. Who mandated them? My people elected me. If people are not happy, they can exercise that right during elections.
“The Ombudsman Commission, who elected you? CCAC or CSCC or whatever, who elected you? The media, nobody elected them.”
He said the 83 votes represent 83 % representing the people voted for the amendments.
“Now the Ombudsman Commission is giving misleading information. The Ombudsman Commission can question us but who investigates and question them?”
He also accused the opposition leader and his cohorts who received the petition yesterday of not understanding the law or even reading the amendments.