THE Papua New Guinea Trade Union Congress (PNGTUC) president Michael Malabag has responded to criticisms by Sir Mekere Morauta over his earlier remarks in relation to AusAID funding for hospital equipment.
Malabag said so much aid money had been poured into the country over many years, however, in most cases the people of PNG had not benefited from this because politicians and senior bureaucrats were not directing the funds where it should be felt and appreciated by the people.
“We are not begging the Australian government but simply requesting that some of that aid money should be redirected into buying essential life saving equipment for public hospitals,” he said.
Malabag said the criticisms by Sir Mekere were from a “desperate politician on a desperate mission to restore lost credibility and leadership clout”.
“He lost his bid to be prime minister again and thank goodness, he did not succeed given the very poor record of his government. The evidence shows that PNG performed the worst on almost all fronts under his government.”
Malabag said to add salt to injury, he had now been unceremoniously dumped by a first time parliamentarian who has wrestle leadership away from him.
“Now that he is in the political wilderness he decides to direct his empty turrets to lambaste the union movement over his own failure to stop the government from purchasing the Falcon jet.
“It is the job of every opposition in a parliamentary democracy to successfully oppose bad government decisions or propose improvements to policy and legislation.
“Inaction and mediocre responses against government decisions is an indictment on the quality of leadership and effectiveness of the opposition.”
Malabag said in terms of the purchase of the Falcon jet, the facts spoke for themselves.
“The opposition under Sir Mekere failed miserably in their parliamentary duty to stop its purchase. The buck stops with them.
“For Sir Mekere to muster the audacity to blame unions and others for the opposition’s failure to stop the purchase is a cheap shot, to say the least.”
Malabag said in any case, it was a commercial arrangement between Air Niugini and the state and he would be well-advised to direct his energy towards the management of Air Niugini to determine the viability of the arrangement.
“It would be a constructive approach as opposed to the blank shots he is aiming at the union movement.
“On the issue of hospitals and health care in PNG, at least he was man enough to admit his shame and rightfully so.”
Malabag said Sir Mekere must shoulder equal responsibility for the pathetic state of hospitals in the country.
“However, he must now be man enough also to propose and support constructive measures aimed at restoring health services.
“We call on him to join the union movement in its effort to correct bad governance of the past of which he was very much a part of, which resulted in the collapse of our health services. He owes it to the people.”