MP questions May riots investigation’s integrity

National, Normal

A MEMBER of Parliament has questioned the integrity of the Parliamentary Bipartisan Committee investigating the riots targeting Asian-owned and operated businesses in May.
This follows the inquiry’s chairman Jamie Maxtone-Graham appearing on a talk-back programme on FM100 with radio host Roger Hau’ofa yesterday and commenting on matters before the inquiry.
The MP, who asked not to be identified, said the public radio broadcast by the chairman while the inquiry was ongoing had dragged the inquiry through the mud.
“What the chairman revealed on air and most callers who came on are definitely anti-Asians,” he said.
Another caller told The National that the chairman more or less had preempted his committee’s report before the inquiry was concluded.
Mr Maxtone-Graham, however, defended his action in going on the radio talk-back programme for two hours yesterday morning.
“My talk-back was absolutely necessary to diffuse any anti-Asian sentiments. I kept reminding the callers that it was the weakness in the systems of government that was allowing illegal aliens coming in,” Mr Maxtone-Graham told The National last night.
He said most investors from Asia were genuine and were needed to help build Papua New Guinea’s economy.
“We need Asians to build the country, but we do not need illegal ones,” Mr Maxtone-Graham said.
“I never fuelled any anti-Asian sentiments. I was rather diffusing these misconceptions.
“People are already angry, hence, the riots in May. I also didn’t blame this government or any one government, but said it was the failure of successive governments that allowed agencies of government to become dysfunctional.”
He said this phenomenon of anti-Asian riots had happened in other countries like the United States, Canada, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and more recently, PNG.