Speaker, Kiriella lock horns

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A heated argument broke out between Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Chief Government Whip Lakshman Kiriella over appointing a government MP as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF), although the Chair should be an MP from the Opposition according to the Standing Orders.

Kiriella alleged that the Speaker should be held responsible for the present crises in the country, as the latter should not act impartially and carry out his own political agenda.

Kiriella: “According to the Standing Orders, the COPF Chair should be an Opposition MP. We nominated Dr. Harsha de Silva for the post. But the Speaker suspended the Standing Orders and allowed the Government to appoint one of their MPs. The Speaker should rectify this mistake.”

Speaker: “I didn’t do anything. The Standing Orders were suspended according to the collective decision taken by the House. Do not make such allegations against me.”

Kiriella: “You carried out that agenda when there were no officials.”

Speaker: “How can I take decisions when there is no one in the House? Do not make such baseless allegations.”

Kiriella: “You are carrying out your own political agenda while seated on the Speaker’s chair. You should be held responsible for the crises in the country.”

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake