Parliament | Daily News


Will serve all alike – Deputy Speaker

Newly elected Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa said that he is the Deputy Speaker of all the parties in Parliament yesterday and added that he will serve all alike while being in the office.

He added that his name had been selected to be proposed at the previous election for the Deputy Speaker. He also said that, however, as the Government maintained that it was better to exhibit it's flexibility on working cordially with the Opposition, his name was not proposed that day.

He also said that the people would not like the waste of funds on an election to elect a Deputy Speaker and added that although the House has no other option other than to hold an election due to the proposal of two names for the same office as it is in accordance with the Standing Orders as well as the law in the country.

He said that he had been a public representative for 25 years, which he commenced 25 years ago as a Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman. He added that he had rendered his service in his fullest capacity, however, certain factions have inculcated the views in the minds if the people to the degree that they think that all the 225 Parliamentarians should be murdered.

He added that the country experienced worse repercussions of those efforts a few days ago when MP Amarakeethi Athukorala was killed. He added that the action was nothing but a terrorist activity.

He also said that the division at the appointment of the Deputy Speaker was not commendable. “It was not wise to be divided.

This is an hour, the unity within the House is demanded," Ajith Rajapaksa said. "With the May 9 incident, all should learn a lesson and decide to unite and serve the public," the Deputy Speaker said.

Amarakeerthi’s death announced to House as a ‘murder’

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced the death of Polonnaruwa District Parliamentarian Amarakeerthi Athukorala to the House of Parliament yesterday.

When the Speaker made the announcement, it was heard a member said loudly that it was not a death but a murder after which the Speaker repeated the word a murder.

The Speaker then continued the announcement and said that the loss of his life is felt very much and the condolence of Parliament is conveyed to the family members. He added that the condolence motion on the death of the Amarakeerthi Athukorala would be taken soon.


Gender equality is depicted only in Constitution – Kaviratne

Gender equality is depicted only in the Constitution but not in the House, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Rohini Kumari Kaviratne in Parliament yesterday.

She was speaking after the election to elect a member to the Office of Deputy Speaker in Parliament.

The SJB MP congratulated the newly appointed Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa. She also thanked Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa for proposing her name for the Deputy Speaker and MP Kiriella, who seconded it. She also thanked Sudarshani Fernandopulle, who withdrew her name, when she learnt that Kaviratne's name was to be proposed.

She said that in the history of Sri Lanka not a single woman has had the opportunity to be appointed as the Speaker, Deputy Speaker or at least to the Deputy Chairman of Committees.

She also said that the country, which elected the first female Prime Minister and the first Executive President in the world has not so far been able to appoint one to the Chair of Parliament. She added that gender equality is depicted only in the Constitution but not in the House.

She recalled that the people first rejected all the 225 Parliamentarians when Parliament took nine long hours to elect late W. J. M. Lokubandara to the Office of the Speaker on April 4, 2004. She added that the same was heard when the Deputy Speaker resigned and elections were held twice.

She also quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s saying that ‘Every little thing counts in the crisis’ and said that even the election to elect the Deputy Speaker, too, is a part of the parliamentary crisis.


Ignoring people’s voices resulted in recent violence – Sumanthiran

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran said that the recent violence was the result of the people’s voices not being given proper representation and due recognition in Parliament. He said that while he condemns the violence that happened, he accused Parliament of not giving ear to what the people are saying.

He said that MP Rasamanikkam and himself had spoken to the public through the media after meeting with the Speaker prior to the recent unrest and had appealed to the people not to destroy public institutions in the country. “If these institutions are destroyed, then there will be only anarchy that will prevail in the country and that is not good for anyone. We understand the frustration of the youth because things take so long. Today (17) is a good example of the delaying tactics. For almost 40 days, the people have been camped on the roads saying ‘Gota Go Home’, but those who call themselves people’s representatives, if we dare call ourselves that, are deaf and can’t hear that. They can’t even agree to take up for debate a matter that the people have been shouting for on the streets. This has never happened in this country ever in the past.”

He asked why the Government was trying to block the debate. “What’s the fear? This Parliament has lost its legitimacy. Parliament must be dissolved, but then again, they will have to take a vote and they will deploy their delaying tactics and MPs. But this cannot go on like this forever.

The danger is that when the people lose faith in Parliament, they will take matters into their hands and seek other remedies.”

Referring to the recent violence, he said that the Attorney General has named 32 persons, including several Parliamentarians from the Government benches and a senior DIG. “But eventually, the buck stops with the President. He was in charge of security and he held the post of Defence Minister. In many instances, the Police were simply standing by doing nothing. It was your own President who was in charge of the Police at the time. And when we try to move a matter of censure on the President, you protect him and block that motion.

The very person who allowed your houses to be attacked and the assailants who attacked the peaceful protest at Galle Face is your very own President. It took over an hour for these assailants to reach Galle Face. What was he doing all that time? And you have the gall to protect him.”

He noted that the entire country has seen the names of all those who protected the President and added that it is shameful. He also added that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe should be ashamed to have voted yesterday in favour of the President when he had previously agreed to support the censure.

Seeds of terror sown at Temple Trees –Fonseka


Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said in Parliament yesterday (17) that the seeds of terror were sown at Temple Trees and that the MPs had to reap the fruits of those seeds today.

MP Fonseka also said that a Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Western Province had been seen with a Puttalam donkey armed with an iron rod and that the punishment should begin at Temple Trees and end at the right place.

Referring to the recent news of an impending Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attack on the country, MP Fonseka dismissed it and said that it was an absolute lie.

He also said that the emergency regulations have been brought in but it will in no way, be of any use in resolving the country’s current crisis.

He noted that the affected people are the true judges of the crisis and added that no matter what the Parliamentarians may utter, the people are aware of the truth.

MP Fonseka was expressing his views joining the Adjournment Debate in Parliament yesterday on the property damage that occurred as a result of the recent violence.

After seeing unknown persons videoing Parliamentary interior


Speaker urged to take steps to ensure MPs’ safety

Several Parliamentarians raised concerns in Parliament yesterday over an incident where certain persons were videoing them right after the Party Leaders’ Meeting.

Parliamentarians Prof. Channa Jayasumana and Premnath C. Dolawatte brought it to the notice of the Speaker that a group of visitors to the Parliament premises were seen recording the interior of the Parliamentary premises via their mobile phones.

They noted that considering the incidents of the recent past, they were worried for their safety and urged the Speaker to look into this incident.

Former Minister Jayasumana claimed the unknown individuals were observed recording the Sub-Committee meeting rooms and urged the Speaker to take steps to identify these persons and ensure that unknown parties are not allowed into the Parliament premises. He said that as a result of the recent events, many MPs are afraid to come to Parliament.

MP Dolawatte, too, said that all MPs attend Parliamentary Sessions at great risk to their lives. He notified the Speaker that apart from the regular journalists allowed covering Parliamentary sessions, two unknown individuals were observed outside the Government Parliament Group Meeting Room recording the proceedings. He said that the regular journalists had their standard recording equipment and recording such proceedings was a regular occurrence, but these two unknown persons recording the proceedings used their mobile phones and it was highly suspicious.

He questioned if such individuals were allowed to freely record the interior of Parliament. He said that the Parliamentarians risk their lives and attend Parliamentary sittings for the benefit of the country and urged the Speaker to look into this matter.

Accordingly, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana assured that he would look into the incident.


Give first priority to resolve country’s crisis – Jeewan

Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Parliamentarian Jeewan Thondaman urged all Parliamentarians not to give priority to a single person and compromise on resolving the issues that the entire country is facing.

He commended the Prime Minister for laying bare the truth before the people regarding the country’s current crisis and added that, “the bitter truth is better than a sweet lie”.

“The CWC welcomes the Prime Minister’s speech, which was a reflection of the famous saying that the bitter truth is better than a sweet lie. He explained how we were going to tackle the current issues, but most importantly, he spoke of how we should face ourselves for the upcoming future. In terms of the current crisis, I understand that there are politics involved but do not make one person bigger than the country’s issues,” he said.

He said that while the views and opinions on the current prime Minister might be divided, but said that Wickremesinghe had stepped up to the challenge and in his view, he is the only one who has immense political experience to handle this issue. “I hope the people keep in mind that when you are in trouble, you can even trust your enemy who lends you a hand, but you cannot trust a friend who’s rather watch you burn than do something about it.”


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