Committee to Probe Ruckus in Parliament

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 7 2021
News Committee to Probe Ruckus in Parliament

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake

A committee comprising senior MPs, from both the Government and the Opposition, will be formed to probe the unruly conduct that had taken place in the Chamber and Lobby last Friday (3) and Saturday (4), Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced yesterday (6).

The Speaker made this announcement after a series of clashes between the Government and Opposition occurred on those two days, following SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara’s request to give him more time to conclude his speech on 3 December. Nanayakkara, walking towards the Speaker’s chair, caused a melee between Government and Opposition MPs. A tense situation arose again, in Parliament on 4 November when an exchange of words took place between Opposition MP Manusha Nanayakkara and State Minister Kanchana Wijesekara in connection with the incident on the previous day. 

The Committee that is expected to submit a comprehensive report on the issue, would be appointed within this week, the Speaker said. 

“The MPs should properly follow the Standing Orders and safeguard the honour of the House,” he noted. 

Speaking after the Speaker’s announcement, Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake stressed that appointing committees would not solve the problem. 

He said the issue was taken up for discussion during the Party Leaders’ meeting held yesterday (6) morning, as well. 

“When there is an issue in the House, a committee will always be appointed. This is not enough. We have experienced in the past that these kinds of committees did nothing to solve the issue. They were only a waste of time. The Speaker is the person who is in the charge of the House. Therefore, he can take a direct decision on this, without appointing these types of committees. The Speaker should not pass the ball to others when he can always give a decision regarding this,” Dissanayake said. 

The Government members, including Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando, said that the government MPs only tried to protect the Speaker. 

“Nanayakkara was approaching the Speaker, demanding more time. It was a threat to the Speaker. We tried to protect the Speaker. That is our duty. The Speaker should rule the House. This incident happened in the evening. Prior to that, the sitting had to be stopped due to the blackout. This is a dangerous situation,” Gunawardena said.

SLPP MP Mohomad Muzammil: “The Opposition MPs behaved wild after the electricity was gone. The Speaker should look into that too. The Opposition is trying to mislead the international community and the media that Parliament is not functioning properly. These people have taken you for granted. We condemn their behaviour and request a fair investigation into this.”

ITAK MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said he associates with the JJB Leader’s remarks on the matter. “The Points of Order have been completely abused by the MPs. Some MPs use Points of Order to disrupt other MPs’ speeches. Another thing is abusive language. The Speaker should take actions against this conduct too.”

Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando said, “It is obvious that with regard to the Friday (3) incident, the SJB MPs are trying to cover up the wrong doing of their MP. Today they state that there is no security for the Opposition MPs. Anura Kumara Dissanayake spoke in this House today. TNA MPs too do not complain of such insecurity. That proves the SJB is propagating a lie. Nanayakkara rushed to the Chair on Friday addressing the Speaker by a name of an animal. We stood up for the protection of the Speaker, who always upheld democracy in this House.”

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 7 2021

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