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APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 17) – The specter of rich Asians buying up Apia and leaving Samoans as merely lowly paid workers still worries Falealupo Member of Parliament Aeau Peniamina.

He says his worries persist despite his being labelled a racist for similar comments last year.

An influx of Asians, which he sees happening, would be bad for Samoa, Aeau said.

"It'll undermine our culture," he said. "It'll undermine the religious beliefs."

He said the Prime Minister was taking his concerns too lightly.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, responding in Parliament, said that previously Aeau was saying, "Chinese, Chinese, Chinese. Now it's Asian, Asian, Asian," Tuilaepa said.

The Prime Minister indicated that Aeau is not seeing the development and job-creating benefits of foreigners investing here.

He also said that Aeau is harming tourism.

Aeau said he doesn’t mind visitors, rather those who come to stay in Samoa.

"There are many implications," he said.

They would have no respect for matai, he said.

As seen in New Zealand and Fiji, an Asian influx would be accompanied by gangs, drugs and prostitution, he said.

"I'm old, I've long known of the behaviour of these people," the 62-year-old said.

June 28, 2005

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