Education Minister laments absence of opposition MPs to raise questions they have listed


By Saman Indrajith

Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament yesterday that Opposition MPs should evinced the same enthusiasm and vigour they had displayed during Tuesday’s fracas, when attending to the parliamentary affairs.

Opposition MPs came to Parliament in their numbers only if there was a fight but did not come to raise questions on behalf of the people during the question time, he said.

"Although ministers have been present from the morning to answer questions of Opposition MPs today, the relevant Opposition MPs who are listed to raise questions from the Ministers are not present in the Chamber."

"However, if there had been a fight in the house, all the Opposition MPs would have been here. The questions are included in the Order paper, but nobody is present to raise them.  There are four oral questions listed under my name, but none of the MPs from the Opposition is present in the house to raise them," the minister said.

"We as Ministers have been here from Morning having set aside all our important work to answer the questions. But none of them are here," Minister Kariyawasam he said, adding that MPs attendance should be made mandatory if they were listed to ask questions.

Parliament Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said under the former government, there had been Opposition MPs to ask questions but ministers responsible to answer were absent. Now, it was the other way around; there were Ministers to answer questions, but no Opposition MPs to raise them, he said.

Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said the issue would be discussed at the next Party Leaders’ meeting.

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