A motion calling on parliament to strongly condemn racist and derogatory comments made by SODELPA MP Mosese Bulitavu has been passed after strong condemnation by FijiFirst parliamentarians as well as NFP Leader, Professor Biman Prasad.
30 parliamentarians voted in favour of the motion while 21 voted against it.
In his right of reply, Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said these prejudices are slowly built upon year after year, month after month and day after day where it seeks to permeate through every facet of our society.
He says that is what we must stop.
He says the interventions in government in 1987 twice and 2000 was premised on the idea of ethnic differences.
Sayed-Khaiyum says when you have interventions in government which splits our society based on ethnic difference it creates a chasm.
He added that NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad has not addressed the hypocrisy that exists.
Sayed-Khaiyum says when Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu made those statements about the National Federation Party and Fiji Labour Party being vulagi parties, Prasad made an on the record statement saying how can they call us a vulagi party when we have had iTaukei members.
Sayed-Khaiyum says Prasad defended NFP MP, Lenora Qereqeretabua for not making comments but it is not about defending.
Sayed-Khaiyum says political expediency has gotten in the way and the Leader of Opposition’s rationale for that has meant that the female members of his party are unable to stand up and speak.
Sayed-Khaiyum says if members of the opposition were honest with themselves they would give themselves a moment to contemplate and do a bit of self reflection.
He says we need to make progress in our country and stand up and speak out when something as momentous as what has been done happens in our country.
Sayed-Khaiyum stresses that there are certain basic values and principles that we must always speak out against if it creates that level of anxiety in our society.