March 20, 2019

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    Govt. assures public servants duties will not be disrupted

    November 20, 2018

    Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) spokesman  Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said legal advice would be sought from the Attorney General regarding the United National Party (UNP) presentation of a motion to Parliament seeking to reduce access of public finances by the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Addressing a hurriedly convened media briefing after Parliament sessions ended, Samarasinghe, together with SLFP MPs Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and Former Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala, was adamant that the motion was invalid as it was based on what they termed as the assumption that the no confidence motion was passed in Parliament.

    “This motion is simply an extension of the same kind of actions that the UNP has been acting out in Parliament. Last week, they attempted to pass a no confidence motion with no procedure or due process and this week, they are trying to get this motion included in the Order Book. This is unacceptable. We have asked Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to seek the advice of the Attorney General and expect to do the same,” he told reporters.

    Samarasinghe was insistent that as President Maithripala Sirisena had not accepted the vote on the no confidence motion, the Prime Ministerial appointment made on 26 October remains valid. He and Jayasekara also severely criticised Speaker Jayasuriya and insisted he was the source of fighting within Parliament as he had attempted to takeover powers of the Executive by stating that the post of Prime Minister was vacant and the Cabinet, dissolved.

    He emphasised that the latest motion was a continuation of the events of last week when the UNP, together with Opposition parties, gathered together to vote for the no confidence motion with a voice vote. Samarasinghe contended that until the no confidence motion was accepted by all branches of Government, particularly the Executive, measures to reduce access to public finances would not be accepted. He insisted that no decision had been made to present the motion to Parliament on 29 October and warned of stiff opposition if the Speaker attempts to present it without due process.

    “Today’s session in Parliament clearly demonstrated how things can proceed properly when the Speaker is not presiding over the House. Today there were no fights, no throwing of the Constitution; everything proceeded well because Jayasuriya was absent. We were astounded by his behaviour last week. He is the reason behind the loss of respect for the House,” charged Jayasekara.

    He also stressed that the pro-Rajapaksa camp had 104 seats while the UNP had only 98 and as such, the latter could not establish a Government. He acknowledged that while the UNP had limited support from the TNA and JVP, neither of them had agreed to form a Government with the UNP.

    An irate Sumathipala added that even if the motion was added onto the Order Paper, it was customary to give precedence to matters of importance such as the passing of a Budget and other activities that Parliament would normally have been engaged with. Therefore, giving prominence to the UNP motion could not be justified, he argued.

    “This is an attempt to undermine the functioning of this country because the UNP could not do what it wanted in Parliament. This is all because President Sirisena has prevailed. Public servants of this country should not be afraid. They can discharge their duties and should not be worried about breaking any laws,” he said.

    Last modified on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 11:38

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