Opposition MPs calls rejected for Electoral Registration of Voters Amendment Bill to be referred for public consultation
AG tables proposed law for debate without delay that states that a voter must register with his or her birth certificate name

Opposition MPs calls rejected for Electoral Registration of Voters Amendment Bill to be referred for public consultation

AG tables proposed law for debate without delay that states that a voter must register with his or her birth certificate name

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 20/09/2021
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula, SODELPA Whip Lynda Tabuya, SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka and National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.

The calls made by the Opposition parliamentarians have been rejected today for the government to refer the Electoral Registration of Voters Amendment Bill for proper public consultation through the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

This bill seeks to amend the Act to provide that a person’s application for registration as a voter must state the person’s full name as specified on his or her birth certificate and must also be accompanied by his or her birth certificate.

The opposition raised objections after Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum today moved the motion in parliament under parliamentary standing order 51 that the bill be considered without delay, the bill must pass through one stage in the single sitting of parliament, the bill must not be referred to a standing committee or other committee of parliament, the bill must be debated and voted upon by parliament this Wednesday and one hour be given to debate on the bill.

SODELPA MP, Niko Nawaikula says every time the government tables a bill under standing order 51, it is asking that the scrutiny or participation of the public in the law making process is to be denied.

Nawaikula says this is not a simple amendment and it needs to go through public consultations.

He says this amendment deals with the case regarding him where he was removed from parliament and the National Register of Voters.

SODELPA Whip, Lynda Tabuya says this amendment to the law will affect a huge number of the population which are married women that use their husband’s name.

Tabuya says these women have been using that name in the last two elections in 2014 and 2018.

She also says it will make things harder for the registered voters like married women, especially those women in the rural areas.

SODELPA Leader, Viliame Gavoka says the bill should not be rushed and should go through the normal process of law making.

He says lawyer, Richard Naidu has characterized this as a legislation by ambush.

Gavoka says they arrive on Monday not knowing that this bill is coming, they debate and it becomes law by Wednesday. He says we should be ashamed that most of the laws in Fiji are coming through ambush and they are rushed without public consultation.

National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says public consultation is needed and they should leave the changes to some of the electoral laws until after the general elections as it is too close to the elections.

He also says the electoral and political parties laws were not done by parliament but by the interim government.

In his right of reply, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says some of these opposition parliamentarians are jumping the gun.

He says it is not unusual to change the law as times change.

Sayed-Khaiyum says in this case before the Court of Disputed Returns, given the submissions were not the full submissions made to the court, and the court only has 21 days from the time the matter is brought to it’s attention, the legal counsel failed to bring to the attention to the court of what would be the consequences of accepting common law principles of adopting common names.

Sayed-Khaiyum says authentication of identification is critically important.

He went on to talk about amendments where they will give women the option under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act where the mother or father can register the child, the deed poll requirement has been removed and people just have to go to the Birth Registration Office if a woman is married and decides to use her husband’s name and the registration will be given.

The Attorney General says the Registrar is also then compelled to inform all other agencies about the name change.

Sayed-Khaiyum says under the amendments that are coming, if a husband wants to adopt the name of his wife, he can also do that.

He also says when the new voter card is issued, then people have to register with their Birth Registration Name.

The motion for debate on the bill has been passed which means that the proposed law is up for debate in parliament this Wednesday.


Click to read: Electoral Registration of Voters Amendment Bill

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
IN DEPTH
Fiji continues to be affected by COVID-19
Contact tracing continues for most parts of Suva and Nausori. Mon 19th Apr Tue 20th Apr Wed 21st Apr Thu 22nd Apr Sat 24th Apr Sun ...
15 days ago

Parliament passes proposed electoral law requiring people to use their birth certificate name to be registered as a voter
Bill also passed where any agency which receives applications or submissions will only be required to accept the name of an applicant as it appears on their birth certificate
26 days ago

258,000 people lived under the Basic Needs Poverty Line according to the 2019-20 Household Income and Expenditure Survey
Survey says almost one in five school aged children in Fiji are educationally deprived
34 days ago
FEATURE NEWS
SODELPA will continue to work with other Opposition political parties
SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka says they will continue to work with other opposition political parties in preparation for the 2022 General Elections. ...
13 hours ago
LATEST NEWS
Thousands spend family time outdoors today as restrictions ease
With the first long weekend after the five months of lockdown, thousands of families are spending their time enjoying the outdoors. Fijivillage ...
14 hours ago

Celebrate the wonderful values imparted by Prophet Muhammed - FLP Leader
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says let us make the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhammed an occasion that brightens the way for ...
14 hours ago

Prophet Muhammed preached peace, inclusivity, tolerance & ethical conduct and we must reflect on his teachings - Prof. Prasad
National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says as Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammed preached peace, inclusivity, tolerance and ...
14 hours ago

Poverty was prevalent in our midst long before COVID-19 arrived – Gavoka
SODELPA says we need to provide efficient testing protocols as we did for COVID-19 for early detection and mitigation of non-communicable ...
15 hours ago

COVID-19 has not only shaken the foundation of our health, education & economic systems but it has turned challenges into opportunities – Akbar
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar says the COVID-19 pandemic has not only shaken the foundation of our health, ...
15 hours ago

TOP