26 May 2011

Commmentator says Sir Michael Somare's absence from Parliament encourages bad behaviour by MPs

3:20 pm on 26 May 2011

The absence from parliament of Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, while he recovers from a series of heart operations, is causing problems with the running of the institution.

The 75-year old has been in Singapore for almost two months, where heart complications have required three operations over the past seven weeks.

Our correspondent, Oseah Philemon, says Sir Michael is not expected back in Port Moresby for some time.

"Sir Michael's absence from Parliament is having a major impact on the behaviour of ministers and backbenchers of his government. Everyone seems to be going on his own way, and parliament has had to adjourn several times because of lack of quorum. It's a real concern to the country, because the Government has a very big agenda ahead of it. Next year is the election time and there's so many very important issues they have to deal with before next year and they just haven't got time now."

Oseah Philemon.