Namah eyes privatisation of govt firms

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OPPOSITION Leader and Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah says he will get the government out of commercial investments and businesses, and focus on making laws and policies.
Namah, the leader of the PNG Party, said in a statement yesterday that he would privatise all State-owned enterprises if he forms the next government.
“We will (stop) the government (from participating) in resource projects and let the landowners and local businesses involved in them,” he said.
“We will engage in massive agricultural expansion with plantation estates of all major cash crops, and have our extensive small growers as out-growers or feeder farmers for the estates.
“This will ensure seamless integration, guaranteed quality and quantity and reliable long-term markets.”
Namah said he preferred an export-driven economy rather than “import-driven as we are today.”
He urged voters to put his party into power “for change”.
“All my candidates, except myself, are new faces,” he said.
Namah endorsed Lucas Dawa Dekena for the Gumine Open seat in Chimbu.
“I have promised the nation change,” he said.

Police must approve political gatherings
Quick Response Force members at a checkpoint at Kagamuga, Western Highlands, on Wednesday. – Picture supplied

POLICE must approve all political rallies and gatherings in Western Highlands to contain the incidents of violence, says Eastern End divisional commander Assistant Police Commissioner Rigga Neggi.
He said all events in Mt Hagen must be approved by provincial police commander Inspector Joe Puri.
This follows the trouble which developed on Tuesday between supporters of two candidates.
“The situation could have escalated but the quick response from the Quick Response Force contained it,” he said.
“We have stepped up our special security operations, and road blocks will be conducted to prevent such behaviours.”
Neggi said police found out that the fight began when supporters of a candidate during a rally at the Pope John Paul Oval stoned a vehicle that belonged to a supporter of another candidate. He said it was alleged that supporters of a candidate ambushed people attending the rally at Kalakai along the Okuk Highway outside Mt Hagen.
They also torched a vehicle.
Chief Supt Joseph Tondop said the 2022 General Election was a time for people to exercise their right to elect leaders of the their choice without fear or favour, and such behaviour should stop.

Safety of children in rallies a concern: Official

CHILDREN are exposed to harm and risks when they are used by candidates during political rallies, according to Save the Children country director Fiu Williame-Igara.
“We’re concerned about the impact on children’s protection, education and overall well-being,” she said.
“When they are made to be involved in election-related rallies or campaigns, the harm caused to them can be volatile.”
Fiu said children being used by politicians during the rallies and campaigning “risk being exposed to violence, alcohol consumption”. “(There are) threats to their personal safety,” she said.
“They need to be (taken) out of harm’s way.
“Save the Children is calling on politicians, parents and caregivers to be more responsible and vigilant, to ensure that children are kept safe.” There have been reports of children used during campaigns by candidates around the country.
In addition, a grade eight student died after being attacked during a campaign rally in Lae last weekend.

Candidates for Finschhafen want RO changed

A GROUP of candidates contesting the Finschhafen Open seat in Morobe will petition the Electoral Commission to replace the returning officer (RO) it recently appointed.
The 26 candidates in a meeting in Lae yesterday drew up the petition to be presented to the Electrol Commission (EC) to reinstate the RO appointed earlier.
A notice from the EC dated June 20 to Morobe election manager Simon Soheke directed the revocation of the appointment of the first RO, Esia Batu.
Commissioner Simon Sinai then, under Section 19 (1) of the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government elections, appointed Kawage Mesere as the new RO for Finschhafen.
A spokesman for the candidates, Ken Zilong, said the appointment of Batu was legal.
“If the revocation of Batu as the RO for Finschhafen is to be effected, then it has to be legal,” Zilong said.
“And there must be a genuine reason for it to happen.”
He said the notice from Sinai failed to give a reason for the revocation of Batu’s appointment.
“This is why we are saying that the revocation of Batu as the RO for Finschhafen is invalid,” he said.
Fellow candidate Boas Sengi said the appointment of Mesere was done in the eleventh hour before polling, which was illegal.
“This simply means that election in the district will be a failed one,” Sengi said.
Candidate Waliong Wamung said they were giving Sinai 48 hours to 4.06pm Friday, June 24, to respond.
“If the response to our petition is negative, we will boycott polling in the district,” he said.