(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 13th August 2016)
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya blasted the Joint Opposition members yesterday, highlighting their unruly behavior, which heated the House on Thursday disturbing the motion for the Office on Missing Persons.
According to the Speaker, the Joint Opposition’s disorderly actions received wide media publicity degrading the Parliament supremacy. “A media reported singing songs, dancing, and using abusive language inside the Chamber during the debate. I was shocked reading this report. Yesterday, I urged MP Bandula Gunawardena not to walk into the well of this Chamber. I have urged him on several occasions before. What should we say when the Parliament supremacy is degraded? We all should be ashamed. Lipton Circus, Fort railway Station, and Hyde Park is there if you want to behave violently. Remember not to mix-up the things that you do in the toilet and the kitchen,” said Speaker.
Highlighting the adequate time available over four months to highlight MPs concerns about the motion, Speaker said: “This motion was proposed in May and MPs had enough time to express opinions. It was also discussed at the Party Leaders meetings thrice. Government saw this as a Bill with national importance, which cannot be further delayed. Government was willing to give more time to debate. Even though I don’t have permission to accept the Joint Opposition, MP Dinesh Gunwardena was invited to take part in our discussions. We listened to his concerns and had to delay a few days to amend the Right to Information Bill as per his suggestions. I still can remember how he behaved not allowing me even get up to move the Right to Information Bill in the past. Being those who got suppressed, I always try to make room for opposition,” he added. (AH)