Speaker says conduct of two MPs a disgrace


By Saman Indrajith

Unparliamentary conduct of MPs Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera on Tuesday, during a protest against State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, demanding the revival of the LTTE, was an affront to the dignity and decorum of parliament and the country, the House was told yesterday.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, making a special statement at the commencement of sittings, yesterday, said that everybody in Parliament should be ashamed of what happened there on Tuesday.  

"We should be ashamed of disrupting the sittings of the House by attempting to grab the Mace to prevent the passing of Regulations under the National Medicine Regulatory Authority which were of national importance. As soon as we came to know of the seriousness of the statement made by State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, I took the initiative to hold an inquiry. I ordered for the acquiring a copy of the video tape which shows Minister Maheswaran’s speech and a translation of it. In my capacity as the Speaker I did everything necessary including contacting her party leader and to the Attorney General for legal instructions.

"At a time our parliament has been recognized as a model parliament in the world by Inter Parliamentary Union, the conduct and behaviour of some opposition MPs caused a very embarrassing situation. It is a great harm done to the good name of the country and parliament.

"Conduct of two MPs was a disgrace.

"I instructed the Attorney General to take legal action after an investigation into the statement by the State Minister. That is the highest action possible for a speaker under the powers of the Constitution," he said.

State Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith Perera, raising a privilege issue, said that a Code of Conduct for MPs was in force and action should be taken against MPs Weerawansa and Ranaweera. "They used filthy words to address the Speaker. They led another group of MPs to disrupt sittings. We, too, condemn State Minister Maheswaran’s statement. We, too, demand an inquiry and action against it. However, it does not mean that anyone should be allowed to misbehave in the House and bring it into disrepute. The actions by some opposition MPs including MPs Weerawansa and Ranaweera amounted to breach of privileges of some other MPs including me. Action should be taken against them under the provisions of the Code of Conduct."

The Speaker said that the matter could be referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee with a proposal seconded in the House.

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