Opposition M.P.s away campaigning"stealing": P.M.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi cautioned that claiming salaries when one is not working is “stealing”, in a pointed reference to F.A.S.T. M.P.s “neglecting” their duties to attend campaign activities in Savaii.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister took the floor and lamented on the absence of Members of Parliament and singled out the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi members.
“There should be 26 members in order to meet quorum for Parliament to convene. Currently there are 50 Members of Parliament and a little more than half is required as indicated under standing orders.”
He then questioned Speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi whether the absent M.P.’s had excused themselves properly.
The Prime Minister noted the irony, whereas the absent Members are the ones questioning the accuracy of what H.R.P.P. does, especially the members of F.A.S.T. that are absent, who have neglected their duties and attending campaigns in Savaii.
“It does not matter whether this is our last Parliament session, but it’s important to attend for record keeping and also this is where we are being judged by the Country for our service and faithfulness.
“This is no different for when you punch in at 8 am and leave the office before 1 pm yet they claim your salary.
"That is stealing.
“Mr Speaker that is why I am asking whether those absent have officially excused from Parliament,” asked the Prime Minister.
Speaker Leaupepe called out the names of the absent Members of Parliament that have been excused due to personal reasons, others called in sick.
The Members of Parliament, Fa’aso’otualoa Pati Taulapapa, (sick); Lio Foleni (church meeting); Faumuina Wayne Fong (personal matters); Nonu Lose Niumata (sick); Aumua Isaia Lameko (attending funeral); Olo Fiti Afoa Vaai (sick) and La’auli Leuatea Schmidt (attending Political party event).
According to the Speaker, those are the only M.P.’s who have been officially excused.
He spoke about prioritising Assembly meetings and said everything is put on hold when Parliament convenes.
“This also applies to the court, for your information all the meetings are postponed.
“Even court cases involving Members of Parliament, but once Parliament is convened everything must be postponed.
“This is merely a reminder, to everyone and the respective Constituencies that the absent members represent,” said the Speaker.
He expressed disappointment at the absence of Members, and not upholding their duties as Parliamentarians.