11 Jan 2008

Drive switch in Samoa now set for October

4:27 pm on 11 January 2008

Reports from Samoa say the planned switch from left to the right hand drive vehicles using the left side of the road will happen in October instead of July 2009 as recently announced by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

A senior government MP says the cabinet has decided to make the change in October 2008.

He says that effective the same month, the import of left hand drive vehicles will also be banned.

According to the MP, the decision was made this week in the first cabinet meeting of the year.

But the cabinet secretary and chief executive officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister, Auseuga'efa Va'asatia, has denied this.

Parliament will resume its session next Monday when the new Road Traffic bill will be tabled.

It is also expected the report from the special parliamentary committee considering two petitions from those against the switch.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the Samoa Observer newspaper this week that the majority of people want the switch.

But the group, People Against Switching Sides, or PASS, says that's rubbish as the government has not sought out public opinion.

Its convener, Toleafoa Solomona, says there is widespread public opinion against it ans it's growing.

"We've already had a march, and we've presented to parliament our petition requesting to parliament to say no to this proposed law by the government. And there's continuation of public awareness programme through the media, and we're also looking at legal options, and take the matter to court."

Toleafoa Solomona