Heated words in House over loyalties
Despite the big hue and cry by UPFA MPs of the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa
faction on the floor of the House to take up their No Confidence Motions
against the Central Bank Governor, Arjun Mahendran and Director General
of the Bribery Commission, Dilrukshi Wickremesinghe for debate Speaker
Chamal Rajapaksa giving a clear ruling on the issue, stressed the need
to refer the two motions to a special parliamentary committee before
taking them up for debate. The Speaker's decision thwarted the rebel
UPFA MPs attempts to gain political mileage while government legislators
had alleged that the Opposition under the pretext of the No Confidence
Motions are all out to sling mud at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
and the government.
One motion presented by UPFA parliamentarian, Prof G.L. Peiris on
April 29, carrying the signatures of 88 MPs against the Central Bank
Governor, while the other by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane signed by 105
MPs against the Director General of the Commission to Investigate
Allegations of Bribery or Corruption were presented on April 21.
Point of order
The Speaker made it clear that the two No - Confidence Motions before
being taking up for debate should be referred to the relevant committees
or the Select Committees already set up to report on these two
No-Confidence Motions and its recommendations should be submitted within
two weeks to Parliament.
The Speaker said the No-Confidence Motion against the Central Bank
Governor could be referred to COPE and investigated by a committee
appointed by the COPE chairman.
Treasury Bond issue
When sittings commenced on Tuesday, UPFA parliamentarian Dinesh
Gunawardena raising a point of order said that the House should take up
the No Confidence motion against the Central Bank Governor for debate
which was already in the Order Book. Leader of the House and Plantation
Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that No-Confidence Motions
seeking the dismissal of the Central Bank Governor and the Director
General of the Bribery Commission were not in order and should be
removed from the Order Book. The No-Confidence Motions were not in order
as there is no provision for Parliament to pass a vote of No-Confidence
against a public official and dismiss him accordingly.
UPFA parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardane said since Parliament had
the power over public finance the matter should not be postponed but
taken up for debate. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody had to suspend
sittings twice due to the contrary views held by the Government and the
Opposition members on the matter. Parliamentary sittings were limited to
two hours as the Opposition MPs continued to demand that the
No-Confidence Motion against the Central Bank Governor be taken up for
Minister Lakshman Kiriella on Tuesday tabled the report of the
committee appointed by the Prime Minister to look into the Central
Bank's bond issue. The UPFA rebel group which failed to get a debate on
the No Confidence Motion against the Central Bank Governor called for a
debate on the report of the Treasury bond issue. MP, Prof. G. L. Peiris
called for a debate on the report at the Adjournment. Leader of the
House Lakshman Kiriella who opposed the demand by Opposition MPs told
the House that the Speaker has already given a ruling on the matter and
as such the Opposition could not press for a debate.
If it is permitted, the Opposition will use it as a precedent and
bring about No Confidence Motions against other public officials such as
Grama Niladharis and the Divisional Secretaries.
When the Prime Minister attempted to read certain sections of the
Report, UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara got up to raise a Point of Order
and the Premier asked the MP to sit down. This led to a heated argument
between the two political heavyweights demanding each other to sit down.
MP Nanayakkara was heard using unparliamentary language. As his
microphone was switched on the words used by the MP were heard clearly.
While responding to statements by Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de
Silva and MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardane on the Central Bank's bond
issue, the Prime Minister drew the attention of the House on the
validity of the interim order preventing the arrest of former Defence
Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and added, "We are not bound to invoke the
provisions of Commonwealth Conventions, if former President Mahinda
Rajapakse had not accepted them." The Leader of the House who endorsed
the point raised by the Prime Minister told the House that not only the
Prime Minister but also any citizen of the country had the right to
criticise a court judgement. The Prime Minister alleged that the UPFA
rebel MPs were trying to 'pull the leg' of President Maithripala
Sirisena. He asked the MPs to follow only one leader and question of MPs
Bandula Gunawardane and Prof G.L. Peiris whether their leader is Mahinda
Rajapaksa or Maithripala Sirisena? Now the Opposition is afraid of going
for an election, the UPFA MPs should resolve their problems within the
SLFP itself, he added.