Domestic Politics. Papua New Guinea press review
People’s National Congress (PNC) candidate and former Menyamya MP, Benjamin Philip was elected for Menyamya Electorate in Morobe Province and polled 11,926 in the final count. United Resources Party (URP) candidate Jack Yotipo took the second place.
The election was held following the late of Parliamentarian Thomas Pelik in October 2019, who represented the Pangu Pati party. His son John Pelika also participated in this election and contested under Minister for National Planning Sam Basil’s United Labour Party (ULP). Mr. Pelika took the 4th place. «We knew we were taking a gamble in endorsing young Pelika but we felt it was the right thing to do – to honor the late Menyamya MP and his family and supporters […] » said Mr. Basil. In addition, PNG Minister for National Planning marked that. In the coming 2022 National Election, ULP’s focus would be to retain the current seats they had as part of this close knit core group and seek to expand and build Members of Parliament numbers.
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape also congratulated the incumbent Menyamya MP, Benjamin Philip and has taken exception to claims by his predecessor and PNC leader, Peter O’Neill, that he [Marape] had “stolen” political power from him. Mr Marape said that contrary to Mr O’Neill’s claim, the government he heads now was elected through the legal parliamentary process after Mr O’Neill resigned the prime ministership in May 2019: « Mr O’Neill, who has rarely been seen in his Ialibu-Pangia electorate and Papua New Guinea since his resignation as prime minister on May 29, 2019, still sees fit to mislead our people,» Hon. James Marape said.
Mr O’Neill, when also congratulating Mr. Philip, also likened his party’s (PNC) victory in Menyamya as a «referendum on what is right and what is wrong». It’s important to mark, that Mr Marape, whose Pangu Pati didn’t field a candidate in the by-election, said the party did so out of respect for the late Thomas Pelika.
Mr O’Neill said this when responding to a statement by PNG Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey, who said the government’s latest debt raising was all about COVID-19 stimulus. «The Treasurer is misleading the nation when he says his latest debt raising is all about COVID-19 stimulus, because this debt was already identified to fund the 2020 budget well before the virus was ever known about» – said Mr. O’Neill. In addition, according to the words of the former prime minister, Ian-Ling Stuckey «is already in breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by not releasing the 2019 Final Budget Outcome report, and this alone should be enough for [his] resignation. The release of this report is a clear legal requirement, and failure to release just tells the country that there is a lot of information being hidden».
In Mr O’Neill opinion, the treasurer was still trying to blame the current government’s failures on past governments, talking about ‘10 years of waste and mismanagement.’
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape also said that Piter O’Neill «has a lot to answer for in his term as prime minister»: «He [O’Neill] weakened the economic fundamentals due to his recklessness in leading government since 2011». In congratulating the Menyamya MP-elect, Mr Marape said he looked forward to working with Mr Philip for the balance of this term of parliament.