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Motion to increase Toppers Scheme defeated

November 19, 2015 5:56 pm

A motion by Opposition MP Tupou Draunidalo to increase the Topper Scheme by $10 million was defeated in parliament last night.

Draunidalo stated the additional funding would cater for iTaukei students and those from rural areas.

The issue drew numerous interjections especially from SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula.

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Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum then replied that racial issues should not be allowed to re-surface in Fiji.

“People like you Niko Nawaikula you’ll look at the names and you’ll go… Indian Fijian other, Indian Fijian other – that’s what you’ll do and Fiji will never progress unless you stop thinking like that. You need to think about the poor people, we had many people come up when we had scholarships based on ethnicity – students of different ethnic groups coming along and saying I had a higher mark but somebody from my own ethnic group got it because they had connections… because they don’t know the right people, that’s the type of thing that used to happen. If it is means tested – then people get qualified based on their means and their ability.”

The NFP motion was defeated by 27 votes to 16. Five MPs didn’t vote.

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