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My actions were not racial: AG

November 20, 2015 7:02 pm

Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says he is saddened that lighthearted comments and gestures he made during parliamentary exchanges on Wednesday have been deliberately twisted to imply that he made a racial slur against the i’Taukei.

Sayed-Khaiyum says anyone who witnessed the full proceedings and read the Hansard report knows that he referred Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca, as Darth Vader because of the rumbling and menacing tone of his persistent interjections.

He says he went on to mimic Darth Vadar’s speaking style in the Star Wars movies by lowering the register of his voice and adopting a Darth Vadar pose.
The video clip of the proceedings clearly shows members of the house laughing, including the Honorable Speaker, who referred the issue as an ice-breaker.

The Acting PM says at no stage does the Hansard record him saying anything that constitutes a racial slur.

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He says he is disappointed and saddened that Ratu Isoa has engaged in a pathetic attempt to vilify him using parliamentary privilege and inflame ethnic division.

Sayed-Khaiyum says ordinary Fijians know that for his entire time in private and public life, he had fought racism and promoted the interests of every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, religious belief or where they come from in Fiji.

He says it is simply inconceivable that he be guilty of the accusation that is now being leveled against him – labeling it as the cheapest of political shots and totally unjustified.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the fact that it took two days for Ratu Isoa to lodge a formal complaint with the Speaker raises serious questions about his own sincerity in this matter – adding if he was so insulted, why did he not say so immediately or even the following day.

He says he believes that most Fijians will see this for what it is – a cynical attempt to exploit parliamentary exchanges between them to suggest a smear on the entire ethnic group to which he belongs.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds Ratu Isoa is resorting to the old politics of looking for an ethnic dimension when the Opposition is losing public support and the Government is receiving widespread acclaim for the Budget from all Fijians.

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