THE petition against the Maladina amendments, presented to five opposition MPs on May 4, is now back in the hands of the Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) and its partners, including Transparency International-PNG (TI-PNG) and civil societies, The National reports.
Copies of the petition, carrying more than 20,000 signatures opposing the changes to the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership and the Constitution, was handed back to CCAC yesterday by Bulolo MP Sam Basil at the request of the coalition.
Coalition members and concerned individuals met yesterday and agreed to withdraw the petition from the opposition leader’s office, where it has been kept, and taken back to the provinces for further action.
PNG Media Council president Joe Kanekane said CCAC saw fit to retrieve the petition after the government decided against accepting or discussing it in Parliament.
Kanekane, who spoke on behalf of TI-PNG chairman Peter Aitsi, who is overseas, said despite the public’s widespread support, the petition was refused by the clerk of Parliament who said it was against parliamentary standing orders.
“CCAC is dismayed but not surprised that the clerk had refused to accept the people’s petition against the Maladina amendments.
“The petition had sat in Parliament with no avenues for it to be presented on the floor of Parliament.
“That is why we have taken back the public petition to say loudly that we will not go quietly,” he said.
Kanekane said the voice of the people could not be and must not be silenced.
“CCAC wanted a complete withdrawal of the proposed amendments to the Organic Law and a repeal of the constitutional amendments and calls for public support to take strength in the withdrawal of petition and continue to fight at the community level.
“This must be the way forward if there is to be a meaningful public consultation on the issue.
“The threat of the amendments being passed in this sitting without the consultation is too great a chance to take,” Kanekane added.