Indonesia Offers To Assist With Fiji’s Constitutional Consultations

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Fiji advised to learn from other nations’ reform experiences

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 31, 2012) – The Government of Indonesia is ready to assist Fiji in the constitution process says Aidil Chandra Salim, Indonesian Ambassador to Fiji.

In a statement, Salim affirmed this at the public lecture looking at the constitutional reform process of Indonesia which was held at the University of the South Pacific (USP) this week.

"Indonesia would like to walk along with Fiji in her reform process and consultation period by sharing Indonesia’s experience of the constitutional evolution," he said.

Director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy in Bali, Indonesia, Dr. Ketut Putra Erawan said everyone must come together and be part of the constitution-making process because it is sacred.

Dr. Erawan spoke on the challenges, choices and lessons of constitutional reform and how Fiji can learn and model the Indonesian experience as both are archipelagic states.

Head of USP School of Government, Development and International Affairs, Professor Vijay Naidu said it is an opportune time for people in Fiji to learn from the experience of other countries including Indonesia on matters of constitutional reform.

He said that amongst others, the constitutional reforms in Indonesia sought to make the military more professional.

He urged youths and women to make submissions to the Constitutional Commission.

Fiji’s Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who was also present at the public lecture, said that values and principles are the most defining and vital features of a constitution.

"The constitution consultation process outlines some non-negotiable measures which include equal and common citizenry, one person, one vote, one value, elimination of ethnic voting and socio-economic rights for all citizens," he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Naidu said Fiji was a confused republic over the last 25 years with the Union Jack in its flag, the Queen's effigy still displayed on Fiji's currency, and a public holiday on her birthday.

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