Following last week’s unruly incidents in Parliament resulting in the Speaker being compelled to name a very senior politician to be removed from the Chamber, and suspending him from attending sessions for a week, analysts have opined that all members of the House should respect the Speaker’s decisions and give him the space to exercise his privileges of the position in administering Parliamentary sittings.
These analysts have expressed concern over a further incident where on Friday, members of the government, including senior ministers walked out in protest over the same issue, this time against the Speaker giving more time for the speeches of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, and MPs Dallas Alahapperuma and Keheliya Rambukwella.
Rambukwella was in the middle of his speech when the government members walked out. The Speaker was acting on a ruling given by him last Wednesday that he would grant time on a future date for Weerawansa to make submissions on the request by him for separate recognition for the NFF as a political party.
Analysts pointed out that such actions against the Speaker’s decision questioned the credibility of the Speaker and created doubts on the conduct of Parliamentarians. Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa also commenting on the situation said that MPs should adhere to the Speaker’s decision regardless of whether they were right or wrong. “House must accept the decision whether it is right or wrong,” he said.
Rajapaksa noted that circumstances which led to Gunawardena’s suspension would not have arisen had Jayasuriya not made mention of the fact that Gunawardena in his previous capacity as the Chief Government Whip had not opposed Jayasuriya when the latter attempted to present the Right to Information Bill to Parliament.
“During my time, no one behaved in this manner and neither did I allow them to. When I showed them the door, they would sit down,” he said. On Wednesday, MP Dinesh Gunawardena was suspended from Parliament for a week for his unruly behaviour.
The incident last week occurred after Gunawardena had objected to a decision by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who informed Parliament that the National Freedom Front (NFF) could not act independently in the House. Gunawardena who had expressed his displeasure over the Speaker’s ruling on the issue was given multiple warnings by Jayasuriya before he was removed by the Sergeant at Arms on the orders of the Speaker himself.
Jayasuriya later expressed that he took this decision with much sadness, as the MP in question was a senior politician of repute. Jayasuriya who was at the receiving end on both these instances defended by stating that he acted according to the Parliamentary traditions.