Corruption, overpowering of independent institutions, nepotism heat up Parliament

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 02:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Uproar over the JVP leader’s speech By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent Corruption, overpowering of independent institutions and nepotism heated up Parliament yesterday when the Committee Stage Program of Budget 2015 came up for debate. Due to the unruly behaviour of Government members, the House was suspended for five minutes by Deputy Chairman of Committees UPFA MP Chandrakumar Murugesu. Yesterday’s debate was on allocations made for the President, Prime Minister, Secretariat for Senior Ministers, Supreme Court Judges, Cabinet, Public Services Commission, Judicial Commission, National Police Commission, Administrative appeals Tribunal, Bribery Commission, Finance Commission, National Education Commission, Human Right Commission, Attorney General’s Department, Legal Draftsman’s Department, Parliament, Office of the Opposition Leader, Office of the Chief Government Whip, Office of the Leader of the House, Elections Department, Auditor General and the Parliamentary Commission for Administration. Opening the debate, Chief Opposition Whip UNP MP John Amaratunga stated that the presidential election should be postponed to make room for the Pope’s visit. “The Pope will visit only if there is peace in the country. With elections you may have to enforce curfew, so it is advisable to postpone the election by a few months,” he said, thanking the Speaker for the repairs carried out at the Opposition Leader’s Office. In response, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva praised President Rajapaksa for his commitment to uphold law and order. “Post-war Sri Lanka was developed under his leadership. He managed to bring all ethnicities under one roof. He visits all places. He listens to the ordinary,” he said. The speech by JVP Leader Anura Dissanayake created a big stir in Parliament and chair eventually was forced to suspend sittings for five minutes after he was unable to bring order in the House.  

 PM slams the actions of some monks

Prime Minister D M Jayaratne speaking in Parliament yesterday said that the actions of some monks have become a disgrace to Buddhism and the robe they wear. He said that some religious leaders are unnecessarily getting involved in politics adding that in Buddhism the Lord Buddha does not urge monks to become President. “This is a disgrace to the robe,” he said in a speech made in Parliament. The Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country where all communities have equal rights. “All communities must come together. We must be united. We must all be Sri Lankans,” he said. He also called on the opposition to support the Government in its development drive to make Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia. The Prime Minister also insisted that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will win the next Presidential election with the support of all the communities. (Colombo Gazette)
  However, Dissanayake held the President’s rule is the most corrupt at all times. “The Government failed to come out of the swamp – LTTE, Prabhakaran, and the war victory mentality. You have failed to cultivate ethnic harmony among Sri Lankans. You still live in the past – the time before 19 May 2009. You don’t have to give any serious consideration to the diaspora. There is no need to worry if you eliminate the background which will make room for a diaspora. But now this situation has become an advantage for you to hide many wrongdoings. “We believe that power should not be centred round one person. Gone are the days the tribal leader decided the destiny of the many. As a result of many struggles in the past, different bodies have been established, such as the Auditor General’s Department and the Bribery Commission. What is the difference between the current leader and the tribal leader if he is overpowering the Parliament, the Judiciary, the Auditor General’s Department and the Attorney General’s Department? At least then the tribal leader took decisions for the betterment of his people. Today, the decisions are made for the betterment of the family, clan and the supporters,” he said. Disclosing the failure of institutions, MP Dissanayake said: “The Bribery Commission is nothing more than a place which keeps the files of 38 Ministers. These files come up as soon as the particular Ministers go against the ruler who is controlling all institutions for our needs and likes. It is understood why these members are shouting when I talk about the frauds. Having failed to service debt, they were not sentenced to Mahara Prison. We have not wasted a single cent of public money. I will not talk about your employment in the garment factory or the four helicopters you own now.  In which SLFP branch were you a member? The SLFP is today hijacked by a group of a few supporting the regime. Let me finish; I will not talk about how you hit people, how you were imprisoned in Mahara, how you have worked in the garment factory, how you became a billionaire or how you hit Chris Nonis. I will talk about you in another debate.” Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage joining the debate said: “We understand your hatred. For the JVP to exist, there needs to be problems in the society. When President Rajapaksa is solving problems, you will not be able to survive. Mahinda Rajapaksa is one of the best leaders borne in this century. He has 22 institutions under his portfolio. Many of these institutions are given to him by the Constitution. You don’t have a good background. Remember what you did in ’88-’89.” Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris praising the President and his international relations said: “President Rajapaksa is the most senior leader in the SAARC region. He holds Chairmanship in the Commonwealth, which has 77 nations. He is a leader who proposed to modernise the UN. He gave suggestions to suit the Security Council, which was formed after World War II. Being a leader of the Third World, he has taken the burning issues – rural development, distribution of wealth, women’s rights, education, and health – into consideration.  He showed the practical approach to issues such as the environment.” “Terrorism was a key issue, see the world experience. He had prudent management and took actions to eradicate terrorism, which is not possible for any other developed country with sophisticated military equipment and manpower. According to him, all terrorists should be seen together in one category. Separation and classifications will not allow eradication of terrorism where laws are not applicable,” he added.