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PNG Opposition MPs cross floor to join Government

Pangu Pati leader Sam Basil has joined the PNG Government with 11 other party MPs

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea-September 12: 4pm (POST COURIER): Twelve members of Papua New Guinea’s oldest political party Pangu has defected to the Government, leaving four on the Opposition bench.

It cited quicker and guaranteed assistance to address pressing issues affecting the nation as the reason for leave the Opposition after an association of only one month.

The move by the 12 Pangu Party MPs, pro-Pangu independents and the recent announcement by Ijivitari MP Richard Masere defecting from National Alliance to join the Government last week has boosted the Peter O’Neill and People’s National Congress coalition government to 73 MPs.

Pangu Party leader and Bulolo MP Sam Basil officially made the announcement of defection Monday in Port Moresby after keeping quiet about it amid social media speculations for the past two weeks.

With Basil were William Samb (Goilala), Robert Agarobe (Central Governor), Lekwa Gure (Rigo), Henry Amuli (Sohe), Kennedy Wenge (Nawaeb), Koni Iguan (Markham), John Rosso (Lae), Thomas Pelika (Menyamaya), Kobby Bomoreo (Tewae-Siassi) Chris Yer (Sumkar), and Moriape Kavori (Lufa).

Left behind were Moresby Northwest MP Sir Mekere Morauta, Reinbo Paita (Finschhafen), Brian Kramer (Madang Open) and Dr Lino Tom (Wabag).

Basil said the switch was not taken lightly given his reputation as a fighter for good governance, the rule of law and his fight against corruption.

“I have served from the Opposition ranks long enough to know that funds for district services improvement program and appropriated development project funds can be hard to access for Opposition MPs. As Bulolo MP, I have managed to secure DSIP and project funding for Bulolo district over the past 10 years. But what many do not know is that I have had to work ten times as hard, use every ability, skill and network to ensure that happens,” he said.

“As a responsible parliamentary leader, I cannot subject Pangu MPs returned at the 2017 polls as well as the Independent MPs who joined later to these unnecessary hardships.

“We therefore decided to join the O’Neill Government. It is now time to deliver to the constituents who gave us their mandate. I want to thank Prime Minister O’Neill for seeing value in the caliber of Pangu Pati MPs and inviting us to join the PNC led Coalition Government,” he said.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury Minister Charles Abel and National Planning Minister Richard Maru were present to welcome the 12 MPs and make the announcement of their move together with Basil.

O’Neill welcomed Basil and his team and said this was a time to put all their differences aside and work together for the good of the country.

“We have agreed that we will take into considerations all the issues that they have stood for over the next five years and we will make sure we work together to deliver them to their expectations.

“Pangu Party is one of the oldest parties in the country it went to the election with some very solid strong policies.

“That’s why I am very pleased to welcome the leader of Pangu Party, Sam Basil and his fellow members.”

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