'No business meddling': Tuilaepa to Speaker
The suspended Lepa M.P. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has criticised the House Speaker, saying he "has no business meddling" with the affairs of the Human Rights Protection Party.
Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, the suspended politician was infuriated at calls by Papali'i Li'o Ta'eu-Masipau for the H.R.P.P. membership to appoint an interim leader for the 24-months of Tuilaepa's suspension.
"Don't meddle with things that does not concern him," said Tuilaepa, when he hit back at Papali'i, who said the suspended H.R.P.P. leader is not officially recognised in parliament.
"An interim Opposition leader should be appointed for the time being to oppose the leader of Government and that should be done in respect of Parliament," Papalii said earlier this month.
"The Opposition leader is a position that is officially recognised in the House to front or respond to the Prime Minister and we cannot run a Parliament like this for two years without an opposition leader to occupy the seat in the Legislative Assembly.
However, the comments didn't go down well Tuilaepa, who then reminded the Speaker that "respect is earned", saying: "We respect a Speaker who shows respect towards others.
"But if he is not being respectful, we will not hold back and will tell him straight up. Just do your job and if you do not do your job well, we will not hesitate to tell him off.
"We have had enough of his disrespectful comments. He has no business meddling with affairs of this party."
Last week, Papali'i confirmed a brand new vehicle purchased for the Opposition Leader will not be used, until Tuilaepa returns to parliament after 24 months – and if the party does not appoint an interim leader.
He said that Tuilaepa is banned from parliament for two years and is not entitled to the use of the vehicle.
“We have not released the car yet,” Papali’i said. “I have not seen the car but I do know that it hasn’t been released.
“It will still be here until they inform me whether they have chosen an interim leader as their leader is no longer officially recognised as a leader in parliament due to his suspension.”
But Tuilaepa scoffed at the comments by Papali'i on the use of the vehicle and accused the Speaker of lying.
"I was still in parliament when they brought in the car yet they never released it (to me)," Tuilaepa said. "They are just finding ways to publicly defame me."
This newspaper understand the H.R.P.P. will have a caucus meeting on the first week of December to discuss a review of the party's constitution and policies to address its current challenges.
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