President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday in Parliament requested UNP National List MP Eran Wickremearatne to provide him with a detailed report on ministerial secretaries holding director posts in private companies.
President Rajapaksa was in Parliament during the debate on Regulations under the Motor Traffic Act (No 1). He arrived in the Chamber around 2.20 pm, when Transport Minister Kumara Welgama moved the regulations for debate.
UNP National List MP Wickremeratne participating in the debate highlighted the ills of transport sector and inconvenience faced by passengers.
Minister Kumara Welgama demanded to know whether MP Wickremeratne had ever travelled in a public bus.
MP Wickremeratne responded that he had travelled in public buses many times and asked the minister what was the last time the latter had travelled in a public bus.
A smiling President Rajapaksa told MP Wickremeratne: “You are asking that question from a bus owner.”
MP Wickremeratne: “I do not know the person the President is talking about. But, a Cabinet minister is a representative of the public. If a representative of the public himself is a bus owner then we need to think about that situation twice.”
The President: “They have been bus owners for generations.”
MP Wickremeratne said it was OK if they had been businessmen for generations because the contribution of businessmen was needed to develop the country. But, there was another problem. There were some secretaries to ministries who served as directors in private companies. That practice had to be discontinued, he said.
The President requested the MP to provide him with a detailed report immediately. He made this request after switching on the microphone on his table so that it would be recorded in the Hansard.
(Courtesy: The Island)