Bala to provide evidence, withdraw statement or be referred to the Privileges Committee

Bala to provide evidence, withdraw statement or be referred to the Privileges Committee

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 11/07/2023
Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has given FijiFirst MP, Parveen Bala until this Thursday to provide proof of the allegations he made in parliament against Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Biman Prasad, withdraw his statement or be referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

Ratu Naiqama says Bala has to provide evidence on whether Professor Prasad did say those actual words, the place he said it and when he said it.

If this is not done, then Bala has to withdraw his statement in parliament.

During the budget debate yesterday, Bala said “this budget does nothing for the sugar cane farmers who in the cane belt are asking what happened to the promise of $110 per tonne cane payment by the Minister for Finance.

Bala said “he comes from the cane belt, no matter what he says, he can bark like a dog to anyone but let me say this that it was him and his candidates during the campaign said to the farmers that they are going to give $110.”

He said “the government, the media and the sugar industry unions are silent on the suffering of the poor cane farmers.”

Bala also said that “the new scholarship system to replace the TELS is a selling out of the principle of equal access to higher education, just to keep a badly thought out election promise.”

He said “the Minister for Finance is simply keeping his job by keeping these promises.

He said “in fact, Professor Prasad knows very well TELS is the only way to provide the most accessible means to provide higher education for all the of people.

It’s replacement is a system that many suffered under and he would know of the discrimination based on racial grounds as he was a student in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Ratu Naiqama says it is out of order for a member when speaking to use offensive words against parliament or any other member, treasonable words, seditious words or words that are likely to promote or provoke ill-will or hostility between the communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.

He also stresses that while speaking in parliament, one needs to be factually correct as the public is listening and they do not want to mislead the people and cause ethnic tension.


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