Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday (27), said in Parliament that he would wear a ‘jumper’, the prison dress code most willingly, if it is required to protect truth, justice and fairness.
The Speaker made this remark, responding to United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian S.M. Marikkar, who brought a newspaper report, which carried a statement of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MP Udaya Gammanpila, to the notice of the House.
Marikkar said that Gammanpila had said in a threatening voice that the Speaker would be arrested on a charge of preparing forged documents.
“According to this news report, Gammanpila accuses the Speaker of making unauthorized changes to the Hansard. He even threatens to file charges against the Speaker under the Penal Code. We want an investigation into this allegation. If the Speaker had prepared forged documents, as Gammanpila says, we have a right to know about it, so does the general public,” Marikkar said.
In reply, the Speaker said, “I have never prepared forged documents in my lifetime. If there is an investigation as such, I would fully corporate with it. If I have acted in an unacceptable manner, the best thing is to move a No-Confidence Motion against me.”
He also said that he has full confidence in the Parliament Secretary-General, the Editor of the Hansard and other Parliament staff.
“I have no reason to have doubts about the documents prepared by them. I am truly proud to have them as my staff.”
Furthermore, UNP MP Bandulal Bandarigoda noted that the UPFA MPs and their supporters were burning scarecrows of Speaker Jayasuriya on the streets.
The Speaker: “I am not scared of such things either. Actually, burning scarecrows is good. It is said that such acts remove the evil eye.”
Yesterday’s Parliament sitting was held without the UPFA as they decided to boycott the sittings in protest against the Speaker’s conduct in the House.
At the commencement, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella stressed that for the first time in history, the Party which claims to be the Government is boycotting the Parliament. It is because they clearly know that they do not have a majority, he added.
UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera: “It would be illegal to pay salaries and pensions of the public servants from 1 January 2019 since there is no legal Finance Minister or a Government. The so-called Government has not presented a budget or a Vote on Account to the House thus far. If they continue to go like this, the entire nation would have to face a grave economic crisis in 2019. Therefore, I urge the President to appoint a legal Government without pushing the country into further trouble.”
Furthermore, a series of privilege issues were brought to the attention of the Speaker by United National Front and UNP MPs Rauf Hakeem, Marikkar, Vadivel Suresh and Gamini Jayawickrama Perera.
Both Hakeem and Marikkar said that even though the Speaker had explicitly stated that there is no Prime Minister, Government or Cabinet of Ministers in the country following the passage of the No-Confidence Motion, print and electronic media defy it in their news reporting.
They said that this constitutes a breach of MPs privileges and requested to bring the matter before the Privileges Committee of the Parliament.
Perera said that MP Edward Gunesekera had been offered Rs 200 million as an advance to switch his political allegiance. “Another Rs 100 million had been promised after the crossover,” he said.
The Speaker was praised by the UNP MPs during the Sittings for taking necessary actions to protect the Parliament as well Parliamentary democracy.
They said that the Speaker’s recent actions, which even put his own life at risk, would be written in gold in the chapters of the country’s history.
The Parliament also held an adjournment debate on the motion moved by UNP MP Professor Ashu Marasinghe on the detrimental impact of the current political turmoil on the country’s tourism sector.
The debate, which commenced at around 3 p.m. continued until 6.30 p.m.
The Parliament was adjourned until tomorrow (29) at 10.30 a.m.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Methmalie Dissanayake)