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  • Live transmission introduced to ensure transparency: Opposition  
  • It was a media stunt to take political advantage: Govt.

By Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera   

Heated arguments erupted in the House when opposition MPs claimed that the government was planning to stop the live transmission of the proceedings of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Committee of Public Accounts (COPA).   


Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP S.M.Marikkar said it appeared that the government was planning to stop live transmission and convert it into a delayed transmission.   
He said live transmission of the Committees was introduced by the previous government to ensure transparency of the committees’ proceedings and questioned as to why it was stopped.   
“Live transmission was introduced to ensure transparency of the committees. People have a right to know the truth. There is no reason to stop live transmission now. Public enterprises during 2015 and 2019 will be investigated at the COPE and the government has a chance to show if the politicians in the previous government had committed any fraud,” he said and requested the government to continue the live transmission without editing the recordings.   


MP Lakshman Kiriella said the live transmission of the committees was introduced according to a proposal made by him as the Leader of the House in the previous government and that it was approved by Parliament.   


Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando, who joined the cross talk, said the opposition introduced the live transmission in 2015 just to attack Mahinda Rajapaksa and minsters of the then government.   


“They wanted to open the proceedings of the committees to the media to take political advantage. They summoned state officials to the COPE and COPA to use them for their political ends. We will not allow this media stunt to continue. People gave us a two-third majority to stop such moves,” he said.   


The Minister said the decision to stop the live transmission was taken at the party leaders meeting to protect the self-respect of the state officials and other officials who held various positions.   


SJB MP Nalin Bandara said the newly appointed COPE Chairman Charitha Herath promised to inform his decision at the next COPE meeting next week on this matter and asked how the Leader of the House was making such a ruling. “It is the COPE Chairman who should take this decision. He is influencing the COPE Chairman.   


Minister Namal Rajapaksa said it was pointless wasting time on this matter as it was a decision taken by the party leaders and requested the Speaker to stick to the decisions of the party leaders.    

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