The Leader of the Opposition can summon state officials and seek clarifications on any matter at any time, but he cannot attend commitee meetings and question them, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament today.
The Speaker who gave the ruling on Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa attending the meeting of the Committee on Public Finance ( COPF) on June 30 when the domestic debt restructuring programme was taken for discussions, said Mr. Premadasa's presence at the COPF meeting was not appropriate.
Mr. Premadasa who responded said he attended the COPF meeting to question relevant state officials on the impact which the domestic debt restructuring would have on the EPF and ETF.
"I wanted specific information on domestic debt restructuring and would have got important information if I had the opportunity of questioning the officials. I will therefore summon all government officials from now on, and if they don't turn up my privileges will be violated. I therefore, state that the Speaker will be responsible if my privileges are violated," he said.
Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella said the Opposition Leader attended COPF following a request by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to support the domestic debt restructuring process.
"You seem to be having an issue with the President and that is why you are trying to sabotage his efforts," MP Kiriella told the Speaker.
The Speaker refuted this claim and said he has no issue with the President.
Arguments arose at this point where the Speaker was accused of putting a sudden stop to the debate on the domestic debt restructuring. However, the Speaker said he sought approval of the House to extend the session till the vote on the resolution was completed on July 01, 2023.
Chief Government Whip Prasanna Ranatunga said even six members of the ruling party lost the opportunity of speaking at the debate on the domestic debt restructuring programme and that the approval of the House was duly sought for the extention of time till voting was completed. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)
If he is a member of a committe then he could certainly participate. But if he is not, he cannot simply barge in just becuase he holds the title of leader of the opposition. He should know better. Just shows what he is made up of.
Krishna Wednesday, 05 July 2023 11:25 AM
Opposition leader knows everything......but he doesn't know what he knows.
L.P. Fernandopulle [ATTORNEY-AT-LAW] Wednesday, 05 July 2023 11:52 AM
Speaker seems to be a Dictator after washing Ranil's clothes. He has no rights to dictate terms to the Opposition Leader.
FF Wednesday, 05 July 2023 01:06 PM
SPEAKER TAKING OVER POWERS OF PRESIDENT TO DICTATE MPS
Ram Wednesday, 05 July 2023 01:20 PM
He can attend and cause the questions asked by SJB Members in the committee
Ajith Wednesday, 05 July 2023 01:50 PM
I think Purnaka's comment on the rules makes sense.
Man Wednesday, 05 July 2023 02:26 PM
Opposition leader had tried to ask questions on behalf of the voter. That right was subdued by the government though requesting the support of the opposition. So it is apparent that the government is without genuineness.
Devaka Wednesday, 05 July 2023 02:59 PM
His own man Harsha is Chairman of the committee. He could have easily passed on any questions he had to Harsha to ask and clarify. He just wanted to create a drama and show off to the public. He cannot bend or create rules to his whims and fancies. The question is has he lost faith in Harsha?
Man Wednesday, 05 July 2023 03:38 PM
@Devaka, It is not like passing a ball as with the possible answers given there may be another question that would crop up. So you mean that there is no way to amend rules according to the need of the public unlike the Broadcasting act to be brought at whims and fancies of one fellow without any mandate, because of that.
Full Name no address to people Wednesday, 05 July 2023 03:42 PM
Why question officials when RW did everything when MR and pohottuwa fully support him? Speaker permitted to call the meeting.
Nuwan Wednesday, 05 July 2023 04:05 PM
committees have membership. Unless leader of the opposition is an automatic member he shouldn't even be there. He can of course summon officials and question them. But the opposition leaders normally do not do that because they don't want to annoy officials when they wanted to gain power one day. When Gota did this as president wholesale he lost the credibility. Government officials when not licking boots are so powerful in a democracy.
Buddhist Wednesday, 05 July 2023 04:27 PM
The speaker allows Kappam accused MPs, Bribe takers, Rapists, Miriskudu MPs, and Drug Lords to be in the Parliament but not the opposition leader in a committee? Well, its time for the opposition to boycott the Parliament until the Speaker resigns.
Selva Wednesday, 05 July 2023 04:38 PM
A man who does not know what his powers are wants to be the President. Imagine what would happen if the people were foolish enough to vote him
RR Wednesday, 05 July 2023 09:55 PM
THE SPEAKER SHOULD WEAR A HEAD DRESS AS HIS BALD HEAD GETS EXPOSED TO THE PRESENT HEAT AND IS DISTURBING HIS THINKING POWER
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.