Johnston calls SJB’s safety concerns ‘hypocrisy’
The Yahapalana Government tried to prosecute the then Opposition MPs for the fracas in Parliament Chamber after the 52-day Government,but withdrew their moves after finding that the CCTV records proved the partiality of former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando told Parliament on Monday (6).
Making a statement following an announcement by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that a committee comprising Government and Opposition MPs would be appointed to investigate the incidents of violence in Parliament on Friday (3) and Saturday (4), the Chief Government Whip said: “There had been a time when MPs came to the Chamber armed with knives to attack us. During an incident that went out of the control of the former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, MPs resorted to fisticuffs. Some MPs threw chillipowder while some hurled chairs.
Following that incident the Yahapalana Government and its Speaker Karu Jayasuriya tried to prosecute the Opposition MPs. They lodged complaints with the Colombo Crimes Division and the Rajagiriya Police Station. They boasted that action will be taken against us under criminal law. Somehow the investigation stopped.
Later when CCTV footage was inspected it was found that the Speaker had summoned outsiders to the Chamber.
Among those outsiders was a secretary of Karu Jayasuriya, who later decided to stop the investigation seeing that he would be in trouble if the probe continued,” the Chief Government Whip said.
“It is obvious that with regard to the Friday incident, the SJB MPs are trying to cover the wrongdoing of their MP. Today they state that there is no security for opposition MPs. JVP MP 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”.
MP Manusha Nanayakkara rushed to the Chair on Friday addressing the Speaker by a name of an animal. We stood up to protect the Speaker, who always upheld democracy in this House. The Speaker allows all opposition MPs to raise points of order to interject the speeches of Government MPs.
There was no need to continue the session after five in the evening if those opposition MPs had not been allowed to waste time by raising points of order unnecessarily. Only the minister who is supposed to deliver the reply speech is entitled to ask for additional time not opposition MPs. MP Nanayakkara had no right to ask for additional time and thereafter trying to attack the Speaker. There are security personnel assigned to the Speaker but they cannot come to the Chamber that was why we rushed to protect the Speaker.
The opposition's so-called boycott is a ruse. Today the debate is on the Expenditure Heads of The Housing Ministry. That ministry was under Sajith Premadasa during the Yahapalana time. If the debate proceeded as planned all his corruptions would have come to the surface.
Therefore, the Opposition Leader made use of this issue to boycott the debate, so that his wrongdoings could be kept under the carpet.