Limiting PM’s age is undemocratic

Letters, Normal
Source:

The National, Thursday 29th December 2011

I REFER to the recent bill to limit the age limit of a prime minister to 72.
It is the constitutional right of the people to elect a leader regardless of his or her age.
One fact that cannot be taken away is Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has made history by becoming the longest serving MP in PNG.
Parliament cannot take this honour away.
Neither can it take the people away from their leader(s).
I agree with Sir Julius Chan’s concern when he told the MPs in parliament: “None of you have proven to lead the country for a long time.
“You have just come in yesterday.”
Culturally, we follow our leaders in true spirit of respect and unity.
Whether they are good or bad, they still command a following.
The onus is now on the new generation of leaders to lead and collaborate well with the old hands.
Rather than passing silly policies, it is the people’s wish our MPs pass prudent legislation.
Limiting a prime minister’s age to 72 is not only undemocratic, but also discriminatory.
Look at former Malay­sian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He stepped down as prime mi­­nister at the age of 78.
Today, at 86, his mental state is still strong and he travels frequently to give talks.
Many people still have a high regard for his thoughts and leadership.
Can our leaders emulate him?
Can any of our MPs still be a prime minister at that age?
Unfortunately, the new law will prevent that from happening.
The bill is not objective and not in the country’s best interest.

Robert A Nemala
Tulire village, Kagua, SHP