7 Jan 2012

Fiji's interim AG defends modernising Public Order Act

12:34 pm on 7 January 2012

Fiji's interim attorney general can't understand criticism of the modernising of the Public Order Act following the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations.

The regulations, which give the military and police extensive powers, were imposed in 2009 after the appeal court ruled that Commodore Frank Bainimarama's post-2006 coup interim administration was illegal.

The Fiji interim government has now lifted the public emergency regulations but it has also announced the Public Order Act has been modernised.

A New Zealand-based group fighting for democracy in Fiji says the Act is further proof nothing has changed in Fiji.

But Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Act had to be tightened up to protect society and ensure better enforcement of the law in a transparent manner.

He says updating archaic laws that are deemed no longer suitable for modern times, is nothing new.

"All modern countries do this. And I frankly can't understand why there is an inability to comprehend this. There's nothing different to other countries. And we've had a history for example in 2000 that if we ever had another situation like it arise, then we can take action in a very transparent and comprehensive manner."

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.