Tabar willing to meet with UPNG again: Mellam

Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Malakai Tabar has agreed to meet with the University of PNG students for the second time.

UPNG vice-chancellor Professor Albert Mellam told students at the Medical Faculty this afternoon: “The SRC wrote a letter to the registrar to seek the university’s assistance in bringing the prime minister and the police commissioner, or their representatives, to the university to receive the petition.

“On the basis of those options, the government decided to have a government team receive the petition. And as we all know, that never happened.

“We sat long and hard and thought about that opportunity that was missed, and spoke very briefly to the minister. He has expressed his willingness to come and receive that petition.”

But, Tabar made it clear that he would not go to the UPNG Forum Square to get the petition; it would have to be the medical faculty, Mellam said.

However, Medfac male SRC rep Hermin Peamo said: “The School of Medicine and Health Sciences is a school in the University of Papua New Guinea. We are part and parcel of UPNG.

“Whatever that happened at Forum Square, we were part of that. Whatever decision that comes from there, we’re part and parcel of that.”

We have come a long way, we have sacrificed a lot and we will never give up, the medical student said.

“If we don’t act now, who will act for us in future? We have already made our stand and we will continue with what we have done.”

Last Wednesday, Tabar and his delegates came to the UPNG main Waigani campus to get the students’ petition that calls to the PM to step aside and be investigated.

However, the students refused to hand it over. “We will only give this petition to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill,” UPNG president Kenneth Rapa said in front of more than 5000 students at the forum.

The boycott will continue for an indefinite period while student leaders strategise on their next move.

(From left: Petroleum and Energy Minister Ben Micah, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Malakai Tabar and UPNG pro vice-chancellor (academic & student affairs) Professor Pulapa Subba Rao, at last Wednesday’s forum at the UPNG main Waigani campus.)




Carmella Gware