Quitting crackdown violates M.P.s' rights: Faumina
Independent Member of Parliament, Faumuina Wayne Fong, says newly approved amendments to the Electoral Act designed to prevent an M.P. quitting a party are “prejudicial” to Members of Parliament.
The amendments include a focus on a provision triggering an automatic by-election if a party-aligned Member withdraws from, changes his or her affiliation, or joins another political party during a parliamentary term.
Speaking on the E.F.K.S. TV2, Faumuina said the new amendments infringes on M.P.s’ rights.
He commended former Deputy Speaker Fiame Naomi Mata’afa for taking immediate actions by resigning before the law was approved.
Fiame resigned from the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) and became an independent member earlier this month. Days later, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi announced the Government was closing “loopholes” in legislation designed to stop M.P.s from crossing the floor of Parliament.
Seven days later, amendments to the Electoral Act included provisions which were described as closing those loopholes.
Fiame’s resignation makes three members who have left the H.R.P.P.
The Urban West M.P. says they (Independent Members) will have the opportunity to announce which party they can run for in the upcoming election, but those who are in the H.R.P.P. are “stuck there” for life.
“They will remain until the end of their [political career] because once they declare to be independent members in October [they will have to go through the by election],” he said.
He concluded these amendments are unjust and infringe on the rights of the M.P.
“The [H.R.P.P.] should have not resorted to this amendment, rather they should have created a law to replace their leader if they are not happy with him,” he said.
The H.R.P.P. is led by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi who confirmed that their party removed Faumuina in July.
At the time Tuilaepa said the H.R.P.P. does not need members who betray the party.
"We don’t need members who don’t come in to support the Government, the H.R.P.P.,” the Prime Minister said.
“You all know the reason [why he is sacked], he’s not a member of the party and that is reflected from his public statements.
“We don’t need that kind of member and his statements show that he is a member that only came in for what benefits him but not to support the Government…”
After Faumuina was removed by the H.R.P.P. in July, the M.P. said his removal was the best news he had heard so far.