Rabaul MP, Dr. Allan Marat, raised the issues surrounding the events that transpired at the University of Papua New Guinea this morning during today’s parliamentary session.
This question was raised soon after parliament opened this morning.
Dr. Marat also asked why the Prime Minister is not stepping aside to allow investigations into allegations against him to take place.
His series of questions without notice were the second of the day.
“Who authorised armed policemen to shoot at unarmed students and why? And, why can’t the Prime Minister step down and allow due process to happen because that is what the students have been asking for, that is what they want?” he asked.
This second question about the PM stepping aside prompted a confrontation between the Treasury Minister, Patrick Pruaitch, and Dr. Marat.
“Who are they?” Pruaitch was heard asking a couple of times as Dr. Marat responded.
“The students, the future leaders of this country,” the Rabaul MP said.
Governor for Southern Highlands, William Powi, also felt that the question was out of line and asked for a point of order to not allow this question.
Powi said by asking the question Dr. Marat was sensationalising the issue and could “propagate civil unrest and public disorder” in the country.
He said parliament was the only entity that had the power to remove a Prime Minister.
In answering the Prime Minister said he had heard that shots had been fired but unconfirmed reports as to how many students have been injured or killed.
“This is not something that we want, leaders should be responsible, they should not be inciting citizens and students to go out there and carry out and misbehave in public. Who is going to take the responsibility?” the PM said.
He then accused opposition members of engaging with students, which prompted a reaction from Gary Juffa who was at the university this morning visiting the students.
“I went there because we have students in our province we are funding. Can the Prime Minister stop making ambiguous accusations that leaders are involved. If you know the leader just name them,” Juffa stated.
The Prime Minister said it is now a police matter and a commission of inquiry will be set up to find out what is happening at the university.
In response to stepping aside, the Prime Minister asked again, “On what grounds?”
Dr. Marat then said “Stepping down is to allow police investigations, allegations of serious crimes have been made. I will make myself available for any interview. Any statement from my staff and my office but the question is on the warrant. Why was it obtained without even conducting an interview in the first place?”