THE Media Council of Papua New Guinea has urged people to reject changes to the Constitution the Government is proposing to weaken the powers of the Ombudsman Commission.
In a media statement, MCPNG called on the public in all walks of life to say no to the change brought by Esa’ala MP Moses Maladina.
The proposed amendment to the Constitution passed the second reading 83-0 two weeks ago and will come before Parliament again in May for the final reading.
MCPNG president Joe Kanekane said the “Maladina amendment” was a deliberate attempt to chip away at the independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman.
“The amendment can be stopped by all of us acting together because the majority of the people are against this change,” Mr Kanekane said.
“Mr Maladina does not have the mandate to bring this to Parliament. It follows then that Parliament did not have the mandate to bring this constitutional change onto the floor to be voted on.
“The people have the opportunity, in the coming weeks before the House sits again, to get the message to their MP, to say no to the bill.
“We can stop it getting passed the final reading in May.”
He said any move to weaken and remove the powers of the Ombudsman must be treated with suspicion.
“At a time when the economy is about to undergo a major transformational change led by the LNG project, the public would expect their leaders to discuss and enact laws to strengthen and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of organisations like the Ombudsman Commission and police, so the people can be assured that their increased wealth from these projects are protected.
“The Maladina amendment does nothing to give us any confidence that these institutions are being strengthened, as he claims.”