Speaker threatens to complain to PM about Ministers’ failure to be present to answer queries

Sagala’s absence


By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Karu Jayasuriiya yesterday said that he would complain to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe against the ministers who failed to be present in Parliament during the question hour to answer queries raised by the Opposition MPs.

The Speaker said so when Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake informed the Chair that Law and Order and Southern Development Minister had not been present in the Chamber when a question related to promotions of junior police officers was raised and he was not present yesterday too.

"We were told that the subject minister would give an answer today. But the minister is not present in the chamber," Dissanayake said.

Speaker Jayasuriya: I am not happy with ministers’ attendance.

Leader of the House University Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella: Ministers do not come to the Chamber. I have informed the Ministers and their private secretaries that the ministers are responsible for answering questions presented in the Chamber.

MP Dissanayake: It is not our responsibility to summon the ministers to the Chamber.  Is there a situation now where ministers do not respect the instructions and orders of the Leader of the House?

Speaker Jayasuriya: The Ministers are expected to know their responsibilities and duties and perform accordingly. Standing Orders should be amended making it compulsory for the Ministers and deputy ministers to be present in the Chamber to respond to the questions. I would bring this to the notice of Prime Minister too.

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