The Chief Secretary to Government, Ivan Pomaleu, announces today to the People of Papua New Guinea that Tuesday, 18th April 2023, is declared a public holiday in respect of the Late Sir Rabbie Namaliu’s State Funeral.
Chief Secretary Pomaleu said this holiday was recently approved by the National Executive Council to give time to public servants and the general public to pay their last respects to the fourth Prime Minister of PNG.
The Late Right Honourable, Sir Rabbie Langanai Namaliu, GCL, KCMG, died of a sudden illness on Friday, 31st of March 2023 at the age of 75, leaving behind a public service, political and diplomatic legacy that is yet to be matched. In his distinguished public service career, he served as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission for three years (1976 – 1979) and in the lead up to self-determination in 1975, he served as the Principal Private Secretary (1974 – 1975) to the Chief Minister and the first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Thomas Somare.
Sir Rabbie was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1982 – 1984 and negotiated a Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendship and Corporation with Indonesia to address the issue of incursions of the Indonesian Military into Papua New Guinea and the influx of refugees from West Papua, which at that time was creating a humanitarian crisis in PNG.
“We now enjoy a peaceful relationship with Indonesia.”
He was also instrumental in bringing on board the Australian Funded Scholarship Scheme, enabling a lot of Papua New Guineans to study in Australia to this day.
Sir Rabbie became the fourth Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea from 1988 – 1992 after serving briefly as the Leader of the Opposition in 1988. He also served as the Speaker of Parliament from 1994 – 1997. “We pay homage to our great leader, Sir Rabbie, for his contributions in nation building,” he said.