18 Apr 2008

Samoa government defeats challenge to road switch plan

3:32 pm on 18 April 2008

Samoa's parliament has rejected challenges to the road transport legislation after four hours of heated debate.

This means Samoa is set to switch to driving on the left once the third reading is completed tomorrow.

During the discussions an independent opposition MP, Va'ai Papu Vaelupe Va'ai, moved a motion asking all members of the house for support in rejecting the bill, mainly on the clause 4 that relates to switching from the right to the left side of the road.

However, it was rejected when 30 MPs of the ruling HRPP party voted against while 12 independent opposition MPs supported the motion.

Before the vote the Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, told parliament that if the bill didn't go through the government would re-impose a ban on the import of right-hand drive vehicles.

Another motion by the opposition side to quash clause 12 which relates to the government's non-liability for any injuries or damage to cars when the change takes effect was also rejected.