The 24-member Opposition team said the referral of Madang MP Bryan Kramer was a biased decision and a ploy to censor freedom of expression in the country.
“As far as we are concerned, a public statement is subject to scrutiny by every citizen of this country, including members of Parliament,” said Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch.
They said the tactic is employed to deny leaders and the people of the country their right to criticise leaders.
“If we allow this to happen, this is a very sad day,” said Moresby North West MP, Mekere Morauta.
Sinesine-Yongomgul MP, Kerenga Kua, said: “By doing this they’ve set up a very bad precedent, and I don’t know where it will end. I think it will lead to the usurpation of the court’s function by a Parliamentary Committee and the Parliament.”
Northern Governor Gary Juffa said: “We should be feeling hurt about the fact that we don’t have medicines in our aid posts and hospitals. We should be hurt about the fact that our schools are shutting down because they’re not getting the funds they need.
“We should be getting hurt about the fact that the economy is taking such a nose dive that ordinary Papua New Guineans are losing their homes, losing their businesses, they’re not being paid, people are losing their jobs.
“These are the things we should be hurt about, and expressing our concern about. But we’ve taken three days of Parliament over an issue because someone is hurt in Parliament by what someone said about them.”
Meanwhile Kramer said he was anticipating the decision and will challenge whatever the outcome is.
“It’s no surprise that the Speaker made the decision today (Friday). And if that is the conduct of Parliament I will be happy to sit before the Committee, if that is the requirement of law, and I intend to challenge whatever the decision.”
Kramer also questioned the impartiality of the Committee.
“We have a Deputy Speaker of PNC, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee is also a PNC member, and another member that is deputy is the Member for Goilala, who is the Deputy Leader for Pangu.
“So they have referred me to a Parliamentary Committee that is chaired by a PNC Member, a Deputy Leader of Pangu who takes issue that I criticised the Leader of Pangu, and we have the NCD Governor, who I’ve also criticised over the yoga contract.
“So the question is, would this committee be impartial?”