14 Sep 2012

Concerns voiced at prolonged absence of Tonga MP

1:28 pm on 14 September 2012

People in Tonga's Ha'apai Constituency 13 are concerned at the prolonged absence of their MP, 'Uliti Uata, who is receiving medical treatment in the United States.

Radio Tonga reports that people have voiced their dissatisfaction on talk shows.

The acting Speaker of the House, Lord Tu'iha'ateiho, who is one of the noble's representative on Ha'apai, says the people should feel free to raise any concerns with him.

Mr Uata has been absent from the House for several months but is legally allowed up to a year's leave on medical grounds after which he will lose his seat.

The Solicitor General, 'Aminiasi Kefu, says an MP can also lose his seat if he's absent for two or more weeks at a time without the Speaker's approval.

Radio Tonga says Mr Uata's family reports he is in a satisfactory condition and is expected to return to Tonga in a few months.