PNG DELEGATION ON COSTLY TRIP TO MALAYSIA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 7) – The Papua New Guinea Government has spent more then K100,000 (US$34,000) to send a delegation led by two senior government ministers to Kuala Lumpur to study Malaysia’s land development schemes.

The delegation, led by National Planning and Monitoring Minister Arthur Somare and Lands and Physical Planning colleague Dr Puka Temu, is in Malaysia to look at its success in improving smallholders’ living standards through land schemes managed by state-owned agencies the Malaysian Federal Land Development Authority, the Rubber Industry Small-holders Development Authority and the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Agency.

It is understood Dr Temu and Mr Somare, accompanied by their department secretaries Valentine Kambori and Pepi Kimas, flew on business class to Kuala Lumpur via Brisbane last weekend at a cost of K20,041.70 each.

Government officials speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday said Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s other son, Sana, flew to Malaysia via Singapore on Monday to catch up with the delegation.

Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported yesterday that the delegation numbered 22, which would at the cost of K9,387 (economy) return-fare per person blow a hole in the Government’s chequebook as it would cost more than K200,000.

The officials are expected back in Port Moresby at the weekend, though Arthur Somare is expected to fly to South Korea first before returning to the country.

Dr Temu and colleague Mr Somare met Malaysian Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin yesterday.

Mr Aziz reportedly told journalists after the meeting that Malaysia’s success in helping the rural people through land schemes attracted PNG’s interest.

September 8, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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