Former Papua New Guinea National Rugby League Coach, Michael Marum made his intention known to ABC Radio Australia of him stepping into PNG Politics in 2022. Marum aims to make life better for his own people of the East New Britain province of Papua New Guinea.
by ABC | Picture, Story and Audio from ABC Radio Australia.
After taking the national rugby league team the Kumuls to fifth on the world standings, and leading the PNG Hunters to victory in the Queensland Cup, Michael Marum has confirmed he is stepping away from coaching altogether to pursue a place in Papua New Guinea’s parliament.
He’ll be standing in his home province of East New Britain as an independent and looking to win a regional seat.
If he succeeds he says he will concentrate on making life better for his own people.
And while he’s talking about a low key campaign, he has some star names behind him from the rugby league world. They include many of his former players, among them Justin Olam, who Marum recruited for the Hunters and helped on the road to NRL stardom with Melbourne Storm.
“I sent a message out to all those players when I made up my mind and then they would send messages back. Justin called up straight away, and he was crying and talking to me. And yeah, I’ve got plans for using their voice, bit of video from them as well. Everyone follows the game up here, so hopefully there’s a game plan there we can use.”
While he was mulling over whether to run for Parliament or not, Marum was wooed by various political parties, but in the end opted to go it alone.
“I just wanted to be really independent, not pulled down by party policies, so I could still be free to make my own decisions on what I stand for,” he told Pacific Beat.
Despite being regarded as a model province in PNG, Marum says there is still much to be done in East New Britain, particularly in the fields of education and health, and he believes a younger man will bring more energy to the MP’s role.
“Talking about education I want to make sure there are proper classrooms, that teachers get to work on time. I come from an area where if you need an ambulance to go to hospital, you get charged 150 kina. You go to hospital and there’s no medicine there.”
So for Michael Marum is it a case of being elected on his past record in his community, and on his reputation, rather than going out to sell himself to the voters?
“What I’ve done already in the past 20 years plus, people are looking at that, but politics in PNG is different. Some people have the money to go and do such things you know, they can talk about you and you know, spoil your name, but I’d be really careful on what I do and make sure we go out there and tell the truth about everything. I’m basing it on pressure from the public coming and asking me to stand forward.”