Belden Namah is PNG's new Opposition Leader | Pacific Beat

Belden Namah is PNG's new Opposition Leader

Belden Namah is PNG's new Opposition Leader

Posted 10 May 2011, 16:51 AEST

Papua New Guinea's new Opposition Leader, Belden Namah says his group will support a bill to have more women elected to parliament.

The bill proposing 22 reserved seats for women is now before parliament for debate and approval.

The MP for Vanimo-Green, Belden Namah was voted in unopposed at an Opposition group caucus.

He takes over from the former Prime Minister and Opposition Leader, Sir Mekere Morauta.

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speaker: Belden Namah, PNG's new Leader of Opposition

NAMAH: I salute the outgoing party leader for PNG party and the opposition leader Sir Mekere Morauta for a very wise and what I call a decisive decision that he has taken in relinguishing the leadership of the PNG Party to me and also in stepping down as the opposition leader and making the position vacant, and as of yesterday the opposition caucus elected me unopposed. And I also want to take Honourable Bart Philemon, the outgoing deputy opposition leader. He also put his position as the deputy opposition leader yesterday on the table for the caucus to decide, and the caucus has decided. And they've also elected another young and vibrant leader like myself, Honourable Sam Basil, the member for Bulolo to be my deputy. And I would also like to inform the people listening to Radio Australia that PNG Party has two deputies, Honourable Jamie Maxtone-Graham, the member for Anglimb-South Wahgi is one of my deputies, and Honourable Sam Basil, the member for Bulolo is the other deputy. The reason why I have decided to have only two deputies is that I do not want to have four deputies like many other political parties have in Papua New Guinea. I do not want to promote regionalism in Papua New Guinea. I want to be patriotic, I want to be nationalist, I want to promote Papua New Guinea instead of promoting the regionalism in the country, as is done by other political parties.

NANOL: Mr Namah, as the new leader of the opposition any other issues you're looking at taking up when parliament resumes?

NAMAH: The issues that we want to look at in this country, which are enshrined in the PNG Party policies, is that we will provide free education for every Papua New Guinean from elementary school all the way to vocational school. And we believe that education is not a privilege but a right under the constitution for every Papua New Guinean. We will provide free basic health from the urban settings all the way to the rural settings. And I believe I'm the best guy to address this security issue because without guaranteeing an environment that is conducive for local and foreign investment, that is supposed to be guaranteed to the people for free movement of the people, I want to fix the law and order problem in this country.

NANOL: One contentious issue is the creation of the two new provinces of Hela and Jiwaka, bills are yet to be passed, any women seats in parliament, as the new leader of the opposition what is your stance?

NAMAH: As the new leader of the opposition I have no problem with the creation of the new provinces, but when is the government going to table this so that these two new provincial seats can be contested in next year's election? As it is the way I see it whether you couldn't do it properly, land boundary surveys for those two new provinces, I don't know how we're going to have the election on those two provincial seats in 2012. If they can do it quickly, all the better, if they don't, then we'll have a problem. With respect to women seats, I believe there should be women representation in the country so that the voices of women can be heard. I've already made a commitment in my convention to support the bill so that we can have women representation on the floor.

NANOL: The long adjournment of parliament since last November to May this year has been the Speaker said there would be renovation work done to improve parliament. Have you seen any physical changes, are we going to see any changes?

NAMAH: If you go to parliament today it's worse, there's never been any renovation. Those adjournments were basically a political ploy to avert a possible vote of no confidence by the opposition. That was the only reason, there is no other reason. So much money has been given to the office of the Speaker for renovation and maintenance work to be done to parliament. If you go now there is no airconditioning, the lift is not working, the carpets are stinking, the toilets are worse; you name it the list just goes on. So everybody has been telling lies to their people, the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the ministers they have continuously told lies to the people of Papua New Guinea that they should be representing, and God help this country and I believe God will help this country through PNG Party.

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