18 Jun 2019

Fiji Speaker puts MPs on notice for not speaking English

7:20 pm on 18 June 2019

Fiji's speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau says some MPs have breached standing orders of the house by not addressing Parliament in English.

Ratu Epeli Nailatikau

Ratu Epeli Nailatikau Photo: Twitter/ @FijianGovt

As day two of the budget debate began today, the speaker reminded MPs English is the language of communication in Parliament.

The Fiji Times reported that Standing Order 28, which came into effect last year, prohibits MPs from speaking in their native tongues in the house.

MPs are only allowed to use the indigenous iTaukei language when citing quotes.

"The standing orders are clear that MPs should address the speaker in English and I expect nothing less than this," Ratu Epeli said.

"If you make an expression in the Fijian language or another language, I need to know."

In November last year, Opposition MP Lenora Qereqeretabua said the standing orders that did not allow the use of the mother tongue in Parliament should go.

She said it was important to allow MPs to speak in their native tongues because this was the "language they were born with and raised with".