Speaker to look into Ranil’s complaint against chair

by Saman Indrajith

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday said he would look into whether any member nominated to chair the committee stage of budget 2013 had abused his powers and become a hindrance to proceedings. He added that he would issue guidelines to them on how they should function when carrying out their duty during the third reading stage of budget debate.

This followed Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe bringing to the notice of the Speaker that he had not been allowed to respond to DNA MP Tiran Alles on Monday, when the latter referred to him in a speech.

"I just want you to tell me whether my asking for time to respond was against Standing Orders and also I would like to know how the DNA Parliamentarian was given an additional five minutes by the Chair without informing the Opposition Whip," he said.

Wickremasinghe added that as a result of not being allowed to speak and the manner in which the member in the Chair acted at that time, he, too, got involved in a sort of a verbal exchange for which he would like to apologize.

Speaker Rajapaksa said he would go through video footage of the said proceedings and decide what to do.

At this point, UPFA National List MP A. H. M. Azwer requested the Speaker for permission to say few words.

"Sir, I want to clarify something. The Opposition Leader said that I allocated the DNA MP an additional five minutes on my own. I have proof that I allocated that time only after the DNA leader requested me, in writing, to allocate more time," he said.

While noting that Wickremesinghe did not refer to any member in particular, the Speaker said: "I will anyway look into the matter since it is an allegation against the Chair. I will not only guide chairpersons who preside at committees but also tell them when and where all members, deputy ministers and ministers should be during that time."

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