“I was motivated to support a leader like Governor Allan Bird in his aspirations to make a difference for the people of the East Sepik Province and be an example to the rest of PNG,” says Dr Malau.
He says he is capable of taking up the provincial administrator’s position despite a background in health due to his credentials with Harvard University.
“Harvard public health taught me the values of humanity: Fairness, justice, equality, and using evidence for decision making in public health practice.
“Most of all, Harvard gave me the insight that ‘Being Healthy’ is the sum of all the factors that influence a person’s livelihood in any society or community in the world.
“The opportunity of being a provincial administrator therefore, excited me to go beyond the health focus and manage other factors that enable all our people to be happy, healthy and wise.”
He said he became an Australian permanent resident (not a citizen) resulting from a permanent job at the Burnet Institute based in Melbourne from 2003 to 2007.
Dr Malau’s credentials include being PNG’s Health Secretary from 2007 to 2011, working with the World Health Organization in Fiji, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Divine Word University and his role in helping to strengthen health systems in Timor Leste.
Dr Malau said in 2015, he left his job at DWU because he was diagnosed with a treatable condition.
He has since been cleared of the medical condition thus applying for the East Sepik provincial administrator’s position.
However last week, to the East Sepik Governor’s and Provincial Executive Council’s disappointment, Dr Malau’s application for the PA position was knocked back by the National Executive Council.
According to Governor Bird, the reason given was that Dr Malau was a foreigner.
“Dr Clement Malau is a Papua New Guinean citizen, he’s a son of Sepik he comes from one of the last districts, Ambunti, in our province.”
Bird said the East Sepik Provincial Government had gone through a meticulous process of selecting Dr Malau out of 22 possible candidates however, were stunned to find out that their pick was rejected at the NEC level.
Bird is now calling on ministers to allow governors of provinces to be given the right to select their provincial administrators, stating it’s unfair when they (ministers) get to select who their district administrators are. They should not be taking two bites of the cake.
“The previous Governor, knowing he would have some opposition at NEC, ended up appointing acting provincial administrators for the full 5 years,” said Governor Bird.
(Picture: Clement Malau Facebook page)