Govt. rejects JO’s request for early date

No-faith motion against Bathiudeen


By Saman Indrajith 

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced, yesterday, that the no-faith motion against Industry and Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Co-operative Development and Vocational Training and Skills Development Minister Rishad Bathiudeen would be taken up for debate on June 18 and 19.  

The Speaker made this announcement, in Parliament, when Opposition member Vasudeva Nanayakkara demanded to know the decision of the chair on the issue. Jayasuriya said that the decision had been reached at the party leaders’ meeting yesterday morning.

 Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he had made two requests––the submission of an interim report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Easter Sunday extremist suicide attack, within a fortnight and a decision on dates for debate over the NCM against Minister Bathiudeen to be taken at the party leaders’ meeting.

However, when the Speaker made the announcement, Opposition member Wimal Weerawansa argued with the chair that the debate on the no-faith motion should be taken up on June 6 and 07. Members of both government and the opposition exchanged heated words over Weerawansa’s demand.

Weerawansa said that the debate should be held soon. He added that the sittings of the Parliament would commence on June 04 and hence the debate could be taken up on 6 and 7 of June.

Speaker Jayasuriya, responding to Weerawansa, said that the dates for the debate had been fixed and they were June 18 and 19. He added there were more resolutions related to the Justice Ministry were to be taken up on June 6 and 7. "Dates in July were proposed for the NCM debate at the Party Leaders’ Meeting," the Speaker said. "I suggested that it be taken up for debate soon and then June dates were considered."  

 When MP Weerawansa further demanded to conduct the NCM debate earlier, PM Wickremesinghe said that there was no point in debating the matter at a time when even the Opposition Leader was not present in the House. The dates on the NCM debate should be decided at the Parliamentary Business Committee and the Speaker. "However as there are two NCMs against a Minister and the government, the latter is the more serious," the prime minister said. "Hence according to Erskine May’s principles the NCM against government should be taken up first for debate."

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