Inquiry into riots against Asian businesses to start

National, Normal

THE Parliamentary Inquiry into the riots against Asian-owned and operated businesses will begin next week.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Asian-owned and operated, businesses Jamie Maxtone-Graham announced yesterday that his committee would conduct inquiries starting next Thursday.
The committee was formed soon after a protest march in Port Moresby last May 12 after the march turned into a riot which was quickly directed against Asian-owned and operated businesses.
It spread within days into Lae, Madang, Kainantu, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Wabag.
“In my interim report to Parliament, I noted that this is a matter of grave public importance. It is a matter of national security and the security of our foreign investors.
“I said then that this was not just another protest march turned nasty.
“Papua New Guineans are feeling left out of businesses as well as in jobs. The jobless are increasing.
“They have no access to credit from the banking institutions, yet they are seeing an increase in  number of foreigners taking reserved jobs and businesses.
“There is a ground swell of support right around the country.
“I told Parliament the danger is current and present. Just how much, we will find out after the inquiry.”
He said such anti-Chinese riots had happened in the past, as in the United States in 1885, Canada, Malaysia and most recently, in the Solomon Islands and now in PNG.
“Ignoring the issue would not make this problem go away but would only make it grow.
“ It is my committee’s duty to ensure we get to the bottom of this. We must understand the root causes before we can take any remedial action.”
The inquiry will start in Port Moresby and will be a public inquiry.
He said it would start with Government institutions and statutory bodies especially Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, and Immigration which deal with foreign business interest before branching out to other stakeholders.