- Yapa picked to chair 18-member committee in which 13 are Govt. members
- Govt. amended SO to enable ruling party member to chair committee
- MP Harsha de Silva criticises move
- Last committee chaired by TNA MP Sumanthiran
By Chandani Kirinde
SLPP MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa
SLPP MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance yesterday, taking away from the Opposition the top post in another important Parliamentary committee.
Yapa’s name was proposed to chair the 18-member committee by Minister Bandula Gunawardena and seconded by MP Dilan Perera. Thirteen of the 18 members on it are Government lawmakers.
The Public Finance Committee in the last Parliament was chaired by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran in keeping with Standing Orders, which made it mandatory for an Opposition lawmaker to head the committee.
However, the Government last month passed a motion to enable its members to decide who chairs the committee by amending the SO.
The Opposition had proposed the name of SJB MP Harsha De Silva to chair the committee before Standing Orders were amended.
Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella, Susil Premajayantha, D.V. Chanaka, Vidura Wickramanayaka abd Dr. Nalaka Godahewa and MPs Harsha de Silva, Hesha Withanage, Isuru Dodangoda, Anupa Pasqual, Sahan Pradeep Withana and Prof. Ranjith Bandara were present at yesterday’s meeting.
The committee is scheduled to meet again on 12 November. Appropriation Bill 2020 will be taken up for discussion that day, Parliament sources said.
Government members also chair the two other important Parliament oversight committees, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), both of which were chaired by Opposition lawmakers in the last Parliament.
“I registered our strong protest. No check and balance!” Dr. de Silva said on Twitter after the meeting.