Parliament passes motion to curtail funds to Ministers | Daily News

Parliament passes motion to curtail funds to Ministers

A motion prohibiting the Ministry Secretaries from approving any payment drawn from the state funds for Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their personal staff was passed with 122 votes in favour and none against in Parliament yesterday.

The UPFA MPs boycotted Parliament sittings for the fourth day. UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe was not present for the vote as he was appearing in the Supreme Court. The motion signed by six UNP MPs was presented to the House by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka and was seconded by MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara.

The motion stated that Ministry Secretaries have no authority to approve any payment of monies drawn from the funds of the Republic for Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their personal staff from November 15. It prohibits the Secretaries from paying for the salaries and other emoluments of Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their personal staff. It also prohibits them from defraying expenses incurred in foreign travel, internal air travel including use of helicopters. According to the motion, any person taking any action in violation of this resolution will be dealt with according to law.

MP Ranawaka presenting the motion, made a brief analysis of the impact on the country’s economy by the month long Constitutional crisis. He pointed out that the country’s economy has come to a standstill and investors have started withdrawing their investments.

The MP pointed out that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has been acting impartially right from the beginning. “We opposed your decision, when you told us that the Parliamentary staff members have to go by the Gazette issued by the President and allocate PM’s seat to Mahinda Rajapaksa when the House reconvenes after prorogation. We told you the Gazette was against the Constitution, but we did not pour water on your chair or throw chilli powder at the members as our opponents did. It was after the passage of the No-Confidence Motion that you declared that there is no Government or PM. Democracy loving people lined up with us,” he elaborated.

Ranawaka also stressed that the UNF is ready for elections at any moment under a legitimate Government. He however pointed out that they demand a Presidential Election first.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, adding to what Ranawaka said, told the House that he always acted within the country’s legal framework and followed the advice of the IPU and Commonwealth Parliamentary Union and Parliamentary traditions.

UNP MP S.M.Marrikar drew to the Speaker’s attention that the official Parliament website mentions that Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Prime Minister from October 26 upto date. UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake drew to the Speaker’s attention that Rupavahini and SLBC have stopped live coverage of Parliament sittings.

“Parliament pays money to the SLBC to telecast Parliament sittings live. The Speaker must look into it,” he added.

The Speaker also expressing his concerns over the matter said the SLBC at this instance has clearly acted in a biased manner and that it amounts to contempt of Parliament. He however pointed out that Parliament has not inked an agreement for live coverage with Rupavahini.

TNA MP M.A.Sumanthiran pointed out that Parliament was exercising its full control of public finances for the first time in the Sri Lankan Parliament’s history with the passage of two motions yesterday and day before.

“If they don’t heed what Parliament is doing as a token of its power over public finance, then Parliament can actually shutdown Government. The purported ministers should give up now,” he added.

“It is the Speaker who needs to be satisfied that a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) has been passed properly. An NCM is passed in Parliament, not at the Presidential Secretariat. Once the NCM is passed, the Cabinet stands dissolved. I explained this to the President,” he noted.

JVP MP Vijitha Herath brought to the attention of the Speaker that the President was yet to make the appointments of S.Thurairaja, PC and E.A.G.R.Amarasekara as Supreme Court Judges, even though the Constitutional Council (CC) approved the appointments a month ago.

The Speaker replied that the matter was notified to the President.

UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera then brought to the Speaker’s attention that 7,000 Samudhi appointments were given at a ceremony attended by Wimal Weerawansa at the Sugathadasa Stadium and questioned the legality of that act in a context where there is no Government.

The Speaker then placed the motion before the House and a vote was taken using the e-vote system around 11.45pm. UNP MP Ven. Rathana Thera, TNA MPs S.Viyalendran and Ananda Sivasakthy were absent. The motion was carried with 122 MPs voting in favour of it. The Speaker then adjourned sittings till 10.30am on December 5.

A motion to prohibit the Prime Minister’s Secretary from approving any expenditure drawn from the state funds was passed in Parliament with 123 votes on Thursday.



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