19 Feb 2008

Samoa drive switch policy unsettles ruling party

4:17 pm on 19 February 2008

A group of protesting MPs in Samoa's ruling Human Rights Protection party has reportedly voiced its opposition to the government's controversial Right Hand Drive policy.

The policy, which states that people in Samoa change the side of the road they drive on, has been met with widespread opposition.

Local media reports that at last week's caucus meeting, at least seven HRPP members opposed the bill, and at that meeting the Prime Minister reportedly threatened to step down as party leader.

Frictions inside the ruling party have been simmering since the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi announced the road switch policy last year, but so far he has managed to convince members to hold faith with the party.

More than 10,000 people joined a march to Parliament last year to protest against the initiative.

The organisation PASS, or People Against Switching Sides, is continuing to lead the public's opposition to the switch, and is planning to take its protest to Savaii this week.