Tamaleta steps up for Vaimauga No.2
University academic, Tamaleta Taimang Jensen, will contest the Vaimauga No.2 seat in the 2021 General Election.
The 60-year-old National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) Economics Lecturer has run in past General Elections, and this time will stand under the banner of the Tautua Samoa Party.
He will be up against the incumbent M.P. and Human Right Protection Party’s Lenatai Victor Tamapua and other candidates including Patu Falefatu Sapolu and Tofaeono Iupati Fuatai.
Tamaleta told the Samoa Observer in an interview that challenges in the educational sector, deteriorating road infrastructure, and dwindling health services are areas that he wants to address hence his decision to contest.
“There are a lot of things that need to be done and the Government has been doing their work and they’ve been there for so long. However, there are still a lot of needs that should be addressed and done,” he said.
“Also there needs to be a lot of developments starting from the grassroots. Schools need good teachers, some schools are overcrowded and there are not enough teachers per student.
“Therefore, there needs to be an upgrade in the educational system. Samoa College is where the top tier of students are allocated and Vaimauga college is where lower tiers of students are allocated.
“Therefore better teachers and resources are required here in order to improve student results.”
Reforming the educational system from the primary school level to university is also overdue, added Tamaleta.
Rising tuition fees at the university-level is also a cause for concern amongst students and parents, according to the N.U.S. lecturer, who added that it is a major factor behind the high dropout rate from the university.
“Government should look at subsidising and tuition fees need to be heavily funded by the Government. It’s a Government-owned university so it should be funded by the Government,” he added.
“The Government is now starting to make changes, they’re now talking about School C starting at Year 10 next year but the question is are the students up to that level?”
Tamaleta said overcrowding at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital (TTM) at Moto’otua is another area that needs to be addressed.
“If you go there in the morning, you won’t get out until like 2 in the evening and some people even leave without seeing the doctor,” he said.
In terms of proposed reinvestment in infrastructure, Tamaleta pointed to roads in Vaiala Vaipuna, Moata’a, Vaivase Tai and Vaivase Uta, Levili and Vini that need to be fixed as well as the seawall.
"The seawall needs to be upgraded to combat rising sea levels and high tides in Vaiala and Moataa. Also to fix drainage systems in order to prevent and avoid flooding in vulnerable areas."
As to why the university lecturer chose to run under the banner of the Tautua Samoa Party, Tamaleta said he joined the party because Samoa needs an effective Opposition to hold the ruling H.R.P.P. Government to account.
“The Government is too strong now and they’re in the majority and so the end result would be that they’re going to be a dictator, and they’re going to dictate things because they won’t care, because they have the majority and they won’t listen to anyone because there’s no opposition,” he said.
“Without proper opposition they’re wasting public money. They’re doing things in a hurry without research, like the wharf at Aleipata, millions were spent there and it was a waste of taxpayers money.”
He added that the Ti’avea airport which is still under construction is also a waste of money should not have been approved.
“The biggest worry is borrowing money. When money is borrowed, it has to be used wisely, yet we’re borrowing a lot but not wisely using it and it’s a big question there because they are not paying it, we are and most of the loans are paid in ten year’s time and so by that time, the future generation would have paid it and it will be a burden on that generation if it isn’t well managed,” he said.
“We need change. I’m against the $300 million wharf they’re planning for Vaiusu and it’s a waste of money because we don’t need that wharf. “
Tamaleta is married and has five children. He was a banker at ANZ and had also worked for the Ministry of Finance and holds a Masters of Business Studies from Massey University. He was also involved with the Samoa Rugby Union and has been a lecturer at the N.U.S. for four years.