SAMOAN MP BOYCOTTS PARLIAMENT

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APIA, Samoa (June 26, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Calling Samoa "a jungle," an opposition leader is boycotting Parliament to protest what he describes as being gagged by the government.

Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi is also angered that an opposition MP has been expelled from the chamber for using "unparliamentary" words, such as "time keeper" and "carbon copy."

"Where in the world would these languages be considered offensive?" Efi questioned. "This is wrong."

He said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele stopped him from raising questions about Samoa's financial situation.

Efi was asked by the Speaker of the House to address Parliament regarding the budget. Efi said he was prepared to talk about several companies that reported deep financial losses last year. However, the prime minister said the 21-plus speakers scheduled to testify was too much and, therefore, ordered Efi not to speak.

"There’s a lot of pressure due to transparency and accountability to table information," he said.

"The speaker is subordinate to the standing orders and if the speaker is not accountable to the standing orders, then you have no rules. And if you have no rules, Samoa is a jungle," he said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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