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Ling-Stuckey appointment as PNG Treasurer an insult to government MPs: O’Neill

Former Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill said his successor James Marape has grossly insulted members in government who voted him into office by choosing Opposition MP Ian Ling-Stuckey as Treasurer in Tuesday’s reshuffle.

“The Prime Minister has the prerogative to appoint anyone he pleases at his absolute discretion but the appointment of the Opposition’s shadow treasurer to the Treasurer’s post is a gross insult to members who voted him into office,” he said.

“Surely, there must be one member in government with the credentials to fill the Treasurer’s post.

“Even his own Pangu Pati ranks must be smarting from this new insult now repeated a third time since the appointment of Opposition stalwarts Bryan Kramer and Kerenga Kua to their respective Cabinet posts.

“It will not be long before Sir Mekere Morauta and Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch join government so be prepared to make way for them.”

O’Neill said that in the process the Prime Minister had removed one of the hardest working and honest ministers in Richard Maru, adding that both Maru and Marape went to national election under the People’s National Congress ticket. “PNC won the 2017 national election convincingly”, he said.

“Now the Prime Minister has chosen to reject the people’s choice and join another party that is his prerogative but it seems preposterous that he has created a post for the very man who opposed him numerous times in parliamentary debates on financial and economic matters.

“It seems Ling-Stuckey has had the last word.”

O’Neill said he had chosen to remain silent to let Marape get on with his job but said he would not stand by and let his successor derail all the hard work his team had put in, in the past eight years.

“Apart from the attractive rhetoric, we have seen no solid policies and programmes so far,” he said

“All we have seen is witch hunts and reviewing, revising and reversing all of our programs and projects so much so that everything has shifted to neutral and nothing is moving. This is dangerous for the country.

“The review of the Papua LNG project alone has cost a multi-national resource company, Oil Search, K8.5 billion (US$2.5 billion). That is just the start.

“When the bill for voiding a legitimate contract comes in it will be many times that.

“And both will still pale by comparison to what the country will lose when the global investment community hear of what is going on.

“This just does not happen in today’s cut throat world of business and commercial relations.

“The Prime Minister is reportedly courting the Australians, then the Chinese and the Australians again. This does not happen in today’s foreign relations.

“Despite all the rhetoric about taking PNG back, we see no evidence of this happening beyond the words. With each action we seem to be taking PNG backwards,” said O'Neill.

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