By MALUM NALU
People’s Progress Party leader and Kavieng MP Ben Micah yesterday described his party as the “liberation hero” of PNG.
He was speaking after Friday’s bombshell in which he announced the defection of six-strong PPP MPs to the Opposition. Mining Minister and Namatanai MP Byron Chan was the only MP from the party who remained with the Government and flew to Alotau with the caucus for a camp.
Micah said PPP had been a “liberation hero” in the past and was now doing the same by joining the Opposition.
“In 1980, PPP under the leadership of Sir Julius Chan as prime minister contributed to the liberation of the Republic of Vanuatu from colonialism.
“On Friday, PPP under my leadership, moved to the Opposition to begin the process of liberating the people of PNG from the stubborn, arrogant and insensitive attitude of my friend Peter O’Neill,” Micah said.
Micah said people may be wondering why he, “the closest friend of the Government”, had abandoned ship.
“My decision and the party’s decision are along those lines,” he said.
Micah said the Opposition would be making “some big announcements” today.
He said party founder and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius was with the PPP while his son Byron Chan was having a spot of indecisiveness.
“Sir J is with the party, Byron is only there (Government) temporarily,” Micah said.
“I’ve spoken to Sir Julius and he is with the party. Byron was involved in the decision of the (PPP) caucus.
“He was in the caucus in the (Friday) morning that made the decision and he is only there (Government) for his personal convenience, and the prime minister would be so stupid to trust him.
“The prime minister knows that he would be so stupid to trust him.
“Sir Julius is the father of the People’s Progress Party, Byron is his son.”
The PPP has seven MPs in Micah, Sir Julius, Byron Chan, Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather, Milne Bay Governor Titus Philemon, Kainantu MP Johnson Tuke and South Bougainville MP Timothy Masiu.
Masiu cannot go into Parliament until the electoral commissioner returns the writ for South Bougainville to the governor-general.
In May 2015, Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc and Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Tobias Kulang left PPP high and dry for O’Neill’s ruling People’s National Congress.