House committee declares no-confidence motion defective
THE opposition suffered a double blow yesterday when its notice for a vote of no-confidence was declared defective, and three of its MPs moved to the government side, The National reports.
Parliament Speaker and chairman of the parliamentary Private Members Committee (PMC) Jeffrey Nape is expected to announce the committee’s decision, nullifying the notice, when parliament resumes at 10 o’clock this morning to deal with major government business including the women’s reserved bill.
The PMC members included Deputy Speaker Francis Marus, Usino-Bundi MP Sampson Kuli, Yangoru-Saussia MP and East Sepik Governor Peter Waranaka and Mendi MP Isaac Joseph.
They held their meeting to discuss the notice when parliament was adjourned yesterday morning.
The PMC’s main agenda was to consider the merit and the demerits of the notice of motion of no-confidence and whether it was of national importance or a parochial matter.
The PMC was also to consider, among other things, that some opposition MPs, who had initially signed the original notice of motion, had now joined the government ranks and withdrew their support for the motion.
Three MPs who had given their letter for the withdrawal of support included Simbu Governor Fr John Garia, Alotau MP Charles Abel and Kairuku-Hiri MP Paru Aihi.
Garia and Aihi were former PNG Party members who had pulled out since the change of leadership from Sir Mekere Morauta to Belden Namah.
The three MPs said in separate letters to the speaker that they had withdrawn their support as signatories.
Garia said the decision had been necessitated by his recent decision to be part of the United Resource Party following his release from PNG Party.
“Given the strong alignment that the URP has with the government and, more importantly, because URP is an integral part of the coalition government, I consider withdrawal of my support from the motion of no-confidence as in order and totally appropriate,” Garia said.
The opposition, learning that the PMC was meeting, urged it to take the vote of no-confidence motion as in the best interest of democracy and the people of PNG.
Speaking during a media conference yesterday after the parliament was adjourned, the opposition said the motion was in order and, therefore, should go ahead as submitted.
Members said that although the government might push for the motion to be thrown out on the grounds that several parties, who have been signatories to the motion, were with the government, there was nothing wrong as only the mover had the right to withdraw.
The speaker also asked the opposition to inform the house, when it sits today, who the opposition leader is and who are the members in the opposition.