Government disqualifies former Malaita premier for defying China


Government has removed former Malaita premier Daniel Suidani from his seat as the provincial representative of Ward 5 Baegu – West Fataleka.

The two reasons given for Mr Suidani’s removal are related to China.

Mr Suidani could not be contacted for comments. However, his close advisor Mr Celsus Talifilu tells Island Sun that Suidani is taking the matter to court.

This development is said to show that the Sino-Solomons bilateral relations is the first to go this far – the removal of a legal representative to a provincial assembly.

Minister of provincial government (MPGIS) Rollen Seleso disqualified Suidani from the Malaita provincial assembly in line with section 15(1)(a) of the Provincial Government Act, Government communications unit (GCU) media statement yesterday said [read more on page 3].

Reasons include – “Suidani’s ongoing failure to recognize the One China Policy which is a key policy of the National Government which all Provincial Governments are an agent”.

And, “Suidani’s collusion with Chinese Taipei in defiance of the Sovereign decision of the National Government to recognize the One China Policy”.

This action is “National Government exercising greater control over all Provincial Governments”, Seleso said in the GCU report.

Section 15(1)(a) of the Provincial Government Act 1997 says – A person [MPA] shall be disqualified from membership of a provincial assembly if the person is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.

Responding to Island Sun enquiry on behalf of Suidani, Mr Talifilu said the former Malaita premier is not surprised by this “abuse of the law” by the minister.

Suidani is quoted as saying: “I believe since in the past the courts have been perceived to be robust. It will be shown in the end that the Minister is acted outside of its powers and abusing his office.

“As for me I will continue to stand against the abuse of the state by this minister who thinks he can use the law to fulfil its government’s reckless political agenda. This abuse will be exposed for the world to see for themselves.”

Meanwhile, local legal pundit Andrew Muaki questions Minister Seleso’s action and the usage of clauses from the 1997 Act to justify it.

“Section 15(1)(a) of the PGA does not empower the minister to disqualify an MPA. If Parliament did want to empower the minister to disqualify MPAs, Parliament would clearly did so under Section 15(1)(a) of the PGA.”

Muaki explains, “the omission is a deliberate act by Parliament for good reasons. It does not want the minister of the national government- indeed the national government- to get involved in provincial politics to the point where the minister can easily disregard the will of the voters by disqualifying provincial elected political leaders.”

“I think the decision of the Minister is based on shallow legal grounds,” Muaki commented on the issue in Yumi Toktok Forum, the country’s popular facebook forum. (See viewpoint on page 6)

It is understood that China’s bilateral relationship with the country is the first partnership which has led this far – the partner pursuing its own agenda to the point of removal of a provincial or municipal leader.

A long time senior public servant told Island Sun that China is the first bilateral partner to penetrate this far into Solomon Islands’ internal matters.

“This is the first time it has happened.”

Making reference to the Republic of China (Taiwan) whom China (Peoples Republic of China) has replaced as Solomon Islands bilateral partner, the senior public servant said, “ROC often protested vehemently when any GP delegation headed to China in the past.

“Its ambassador would come running into PMO and complained.

“But SIG advised ROC a provincial government could establish sister relations only.

“National government never removed any MPA or premier then.”

The Chinese embassy has not responded to an Island Sun media enquiry for comment.

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