The absence of all ministers from whom oral questions were raised during today’s session prompted JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake to call it a black day in parliament.
“This is a black day in parliament as none of the ministers are present to answer all 15 oral questions raised from them,” MP Ratnayake said.
“It’s been one year since we handed over some oral questions and none of them are answered by the ministers. What is the use of holding parliamentary sessions if the ministers cannot come and answer the questions that are raised by the MPs,” he added.
Joint Opposition MP Ananda Aluthgamage said it is better to dissolve the House and go for a snap general election as the function of the present parliament had almost come to a standstill.
“Millions of rupees are being spent for sessions and all these go waste as ministers are absent,” he said.
The point raised by the opposition was backed by some of the backbench government MPs as well.
Accordingly, government MP S. M. Marikkar said parliamentary privileges of MPs have been violated by the ministers by not being present in the House to answer the questions.
He said the presence of all 225 MPs at sessions had become a rare phenomenon today as one could see all of them only during the budget day or whenever there is some special happening in the House.
Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella who responded said he too would agree with the matter raised by the MPs. “Minsters fail to attend sessions despite the advice given to them by the Prime Minister to give priority to parliament,” he said.
Mr. Aluthgamage who responded said he was also aware of the advice given by the Prime Minister as he was also in the UNP before crossing over to the opposition. “The issue is that ministers do not follow the Prime Minister’s advice,” he said. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)