22 Jun 2006

Samoa PM urges new speaker to stay independent

3:32 pm on 22 June 2006

Samoa's Prime Minister has urged the new parliament speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, to stay independent to maintain the integrity of his office.

The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, was speaking in parliament today before the end of the first session after the main budget was passed last night.

Tuila'epa said the speaker should do his job to the best of his ability by suspending any MP including government ministers if they disobey the standing orders.

The former Speaker of the house came under heavy criticism from the main opposition party and members of the public for allegedly being biased in his decisions.

The then deputy leader of the opposition, Asiata Sale'imoa Va'ai, was suspended for four months when he sought assistance from the International Parliamentary Union or IPU over his rulings.

The former speaker is now the new Minister of Police, Prisons and Fire.