12 Jul 2011

Snag over PNG medical assessment of PNG leader in Singapore hospital

6:14 pm on 12 July 2011

There is continued uncertainty over the reported resignation of the Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, who since April has been in a Singapore hospital.

His retirement was announced last month by his son, Arthur Somare, who cited Sir Michael's ill-health for quitting politics.

However, the PNG constitution requires a medical report by two PNG doctors to verify his physical or mental incapacity to carry out his duties.

A specialist surgeon Dr Kristoffa Robert Ninkama, has told the newspaper, The National, any such verification is impossible because no PNG doctor is registered with the Singapore Medical Council.

He says a PNG doctor checking on Sir Michael would therefore not be recognised as a doctor.

It is now being suggested that Sir Michael's doctor in Singapore be asked to write a report about his health status.