While Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum continues his medical treatment in Singapore, a group of NGOs and a political party are calling for Sayed-Khaiyum to be put on medical leave to rest and an acting appointment to be made to look after the important portfolios.
However Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says these are same statements obviously by same people.
The CSO Alliance for COVID 19 Humanitarian Response is made up of 7 organisations working across different sectors in Fiji including Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Citizens Constitutional Forum, Social Empowerment and Education Programme (SEEP), Rainbow Pride Foundation and the Fiji Women's Rights Movement.
They say they empathise with Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and they are very concerned that he is unwell. The Alliance has noted that Sayed-Khaiyum is still working while on medical treatment and calls on the Prime Minister to allow Sayed-Khaiyum a decent rest by delegating his responsibilities to others who are just as capable in his cabinet.
They say they are concerned that as Sayed-Khaiyum holds several portfolios during this time of the pandemic and economic downturn, this could create a destabilisation in governance.
The CSO Alliance says it’s a big ask to expect Sayed-Khaiyum who is going through medical procedures in another country to try and run multiple portfolios and steer a nation grappling with multiple disasters which needs on ‘the feet decision making”.
The NGOs are calling on the Prime Minister to allow Sayed-Khaiyum to rest so that he can have a speedy recovery after what he has said will be a major medical procedure.
Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry also says Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should be put on medical leave and an acting minister appointed to manage the portfolios under his charge.
Chaudhry says Sayed-Khaiyum has been away overseas now for over two weeks undergoing serious medical procedures in Singapore according to his own statements over the weekend.
He says the normal practice in cases where a Minister is away from a country, more so when on medical treatment, is to appoint an acting minister to take charge.
Chaudhry says it is absurd for the Prime Minister to allow Sayed-Khaiyum to manage the economy and several other ministries under his substantive charge from his hospital bed 5,209 miles from Fiji.
He says surely there are other senior ministers in his government who can be appointed to act in the position.
Chaudhry has also asked for clarification on who is paying for Sayed-Khaiyum’s travel costs.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has told Legend FM News that Mahendra Chaudhry and CSO Alliance are seriously not worth answering to as they are just trying to be relevant by making such statements.
Bainimarama says “tell them to go ahead and do something useful if not for themselves then for their neighbours.”
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said from Singapore on Sunday that he is expected to have another major medical procedure sometime this week.
He also clarified that he is paying for his medical costs in Singapore and it is not paid by the Fijian government or taxpayers.
Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says he is in Singapore at the moment for some medical procedures where he already had a procedure a few days ago.
Sayed-Khaiyum says he is expected to have another major procedure sometime next week.
While speaking during the Virtual Public Budget Consultation, the Attorney General has also clarified that he is paying for his medical costs in Singapore and it is not paid by the Fijian government or taxpayers.
He says there has been a lot of talk that he will not stay in quarantine when he returns to Fiji.
Sayed-Khaiyum says every single person who comes to Fiji has to stay in quarantine and he will do the same.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations