By REG RENAGI
Next week, Parliament resumes again for a further three weeks of more feisty debates on issues of national importance (we hope).
Parliament was to sit for a marathon six-weeks session but the Speaker (and his deputy) decided our parliamentarians needed a fortnight recess.
Our elected representatives seem to have an easy life.
No wonder they feel over-pampered (and quite spoilt) at our expense.
However, unfortunately their assessed output towards the overall net development outcomes since 2002 to the present time leaves a lot to be desired.
So the public considers this half-year break to be quite excessive.
But the media reported that the Speaker advised all and sundry that an adjournment at this stage was necessary for urgent repairs and maintenance work to be done to the parliament.
Several millions to the order of some K20 million was also reportedly even set aside for this purpose.
The opposition voiced its extreme disappointment but the media deduced that it was the usual standard procedure of the Speaker to shield the government from votes of no-confidence motions being moved against it.
This should not come as a great surprise to the opposition as it has been the usual delaying tactic used by the same man presiding over proceedings on the floor of parliament since 2002.
But what’s very disappointing about this six-month break ordered by the Speaker was that there was no real physical evidence of any structural improvements in parliament to justify the long recess by MPs.
Notwithstanding, the two-week break should do them some good.
After resting their minds properly, catching up on some outstanding projects back in their electorates, or more importantly; think hard about what issues they are going to seriously address that is affecting everyone.
When parliament resumes again, there will be many outstanding issues carried over from last year to be properly debated on the floor of parliament.
It is hoped that all these issues will be seriously addressed by all MPs regardless of which side of the parliament they sit, and all decisions made will also be in PNG’s national interest.
While not pre-empting anything here, nevertheless; the people’s government must now critically address in this particular session of parliament the all-important issue of PNG’s leadership.
The country has not had a proper leader for over two months that must be immediately corrected.
This is a matter that is now so crucially important at this very moment that our people and country cannot be denied a fit and competent leadership to be captain of our state-ship before the year’s end for obvious reasons.
PNG must have a competent leadership that will give confidence to its people and all democratic institutions.
I again foresee our able Parliamentary Opposition Party Leader, Belden Namah and his intrepid deputy, Sam Basil to bring the matter up again in the ‘House’ next Tuesday, for Acting PM, Sam Abal to evoke the provision of section 142, sub-section 5 (c) of the constitution.
The government must appoint a competent medical panel to accurately assess our PM’s true medical condition and determine whether he is 100% fit in all respects to be able to carry out the duties of his high office.
I hope the Speaker does not try to pull the same silly stunt as last time or he risk incurring the wrath of the Opposition, and may risk warranting a possible a vote of no-confidence being moved against the ‘chair’ itself.
With the prevailing health condition of our PM now and the current state of what is happening in government, the political environment in PNG is not good for the country’s leader to return to, and resume duties of his high office in a ‘business-as-usual’ fashion.
Hence, if the medical situation does warrant it and supported by a special medical panel’s recommendations, then the process of electing a new PM can then be taken by parliament on the floor – but must be done now and without delay.
With due respect to parliament, it is now time for it to make a bold decision to have a competent and honest government to rule PNG from this point onwards.
For some time now, PNG is badly lacking here and must now have a visionary, transformational and honest government.
As I wrote last week, the only way out of this leadership crisis PNG is in now is to immediately invite the Parliamentary Opposition party MPs and form a ‘government of national unity’.
The Opposition is quiet unique at this stage because it has many quality MPs, including two former PMs that their presence is very much needed in a reformed government in 2011.
Some government MPs have had bad reports of being involved in serious allegations of bad leadership actions.
These MPs must be immediately investigated with necessary corrective action taken against them.
The government has so far not done anything to address these very serious allegations, thus, this cannot be allowed to continue hanging over their head for obvious reasons.
With a new, fit and healthy PM elected by parliament and a revitalised ‘grand coalition’ in a ‘Government of National Unity’, PNG will be progressively transformed into a much better and stronger position than now to go into the elections next year.
The end result for the people of PNG in 2011 will be a properly functioning parliament and government that will diligently serve our people better in a more highly responsive, and responsible manner than before.
I hope and pray that Acting PM, Sam Abal and Opposition Leader, Belden Namah start talking of bringing back stability and credibility into the government in 2011.
The people will then look towards next year’s elections with confidence and hope for a better future.
Finally, I join my fellow Papua New Guineans and pray that PM Somare makes a speedy recovery and returns back safely to PNG with his family.
May God bless our Grand Chief.