Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has dismissed fears that an amendment made to the Citizenship Bill will be used as a “backdoor” by foreign investors and illegal immigrants.
The claim was made by M.P. for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai last week in Parliament.
Olo strongly opposed the amendment. Asked for a comment, Tuilaepa said the claim from Olo was quite foolish.
He added that the M.P. was confused about another piece of legislation called the Investment Citizenship Act 2015.
“This legislation is about people with connections to Samoa and who want their children to play for the Manu Samoa,” Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer.
He explained that it’s difficult for the children of those who have connections to Samoa to obtain Samoan citizenship but want to play for the Manu Samoa.
“That’s what the bill is about,” said Tuilaepa. “So that is totally wrong (what Olo claims). The change is not because of foreign investors. It’s for Samoans who were born overseas but cannot obtain Samoan citizenship.”
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Olo said he was extremely concerned about the legislation as it touches an issue at the heart of all Samoans – citizenship. He insisted that the bill would be used as backdoor and exploited by foreigners who will secur citizenships through the Citizenship Investment Act.
“That is why they will not allow the bill to only cover those with full blooded Samoans or 50 percent half cast,” said Olo.
“That is the danger to this word Samoa citizenship. Under the Citizenship Investment Act, only the applicant and his or her spouse and immediate family can get citizenship.
“Once they get that under the Investment Act they can move to this backdoor and use the Citizenship bill to bring in their descendants going back to first and second generations.
“There is coming a time when all these foreigners will take up all our land. When that happens and when they occupy our country, we will then move to the mountains to live because we don’t have the money to compete with them. These people will buy all our land and take up the businesses. That’s my concern.”
The Prime Minister also downplayed claims that there is no use debating bills when the government has the more than two third of seats in Parliament.
“It needs to be debated,” he said.
“I had said in my speech during the (Parliament) symposium, explaining all these things. Any M.P. who talks about it would only reflect how stupid they are. They are wasting time.”