A day of infamy | Daily News

A day of infamy

Parliament hit a new low on Wednesday when a free for all by Government and Opposition members left four MPs injured and requiring medical treatment. They simply went berserk throwing punches at each other in the chambers of the August Assembly watched on television by the general public.

This juvenile conduct on the part of our people's representatives, once again, brings into question the quality, nay, the pedigree, of those adorning the country's supreme legislature. This is not the first time that such ugly incidents were witnessed in the chambers of parliament. There was the infamous fracas where even a member of the Buddhist clergy, a new entrant to parliament, was not spared, manhandled by a government MP notorious for his muscle power, and had to seek medical treatment at a private hospital. Wednesday's incident improved on this, with four MPs bruised and battered and one sporting a surgical dressing on his visage, for good measure, in a day of shame in the country's political history. To think that parliament had to spend a sum of Rs 2.4 million for the truncated session which produced nothing but a black eye to one of its inmates.

Things can only go from bad to worse, what with the siblings and progeny of the sitting MPs waiting in the wings to enter parliament from the Provincial Councils and LG bodies which today has turned out of be the nurseries of the country's second tier leadership.

For most, parliament today is a yet another White Elephant which swallows up billions of rupees of public funds. Wednesday's fisticuffs only underlines this line of thinking. In any event, most of the time, sittings are marked by a lack of quorum, with members otherwise engaged in the canteen or the lobby. Most come only to collect their ‘attendance allowance'. A former Speaker once pleaded with MPs to make use of the library facilities in parliament, having being told that hardly any member visits the library. There is justifiable reason to assume that thing haven't changed much, with this parliament as well, what with more than one thirds of the members not having passed their GCE (O/L) exams.

True, not all MPs are expected to be academically qualified. This is impractical in Sri Lanka's politics, with a constituency that vote with their hearts rather than their heads, so to speak. Still, there are ways to sift the chaff from the grain. Leaders of all major parties are responsible, to a large extent, for giving preference to undesirables, who are otherwise popular with the voters, in the selection of candidates. An Elections Monitor had already come out with the revelation that some 20% of the candidates fielded at the LG poll are underworld figures. It is these elements who will some day come up the ranks and enter parliament to enact the scenes such as the country witnessed on Wednesday.

“Resa” for the masses

Just one week after this newspaper completed its centenary, we witnessed the birth of a new newspaper yesterday from the presses of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, more commonly known as Lake House. Called “Resa”, the Sinhalese daily will strengthen the portfolio of newspapers published by ANCL in all three languages.

One might ask why the readers will want yet another Sinhala newspaper when there are scores of them available in the market. Resa has a young editorial team with a fresh outlook on news, features, world affairs, sports and entertainment who have managed to differentiate their product from the rest. Indeed, in a news cycle dominated by gruesome violence and mindless scribbling, Resa will stand apart for its focus on news and views that are actually fit to print. Resa will strive to tell both sides of the story in an objective manner, adhering to well established journalistic norms and ethical/moral considerations.

The other factors that will benefit the reader are Resa’s relative affordability and easy readability. Just about anyone can spare Rs.10 and why not spend it on something that will update you on what is happening around the world? Plus, Resa has an easy-on-the-eye font and concise (but comprehensive) articles that draw the reader in. It is an ideal read for one’s morning commute or afternoon downtime.

While Resa is for everyone, it will especially appeal to the youth of the “touchscreen generation” who have virtually abandoned newspapers for smartphones and tablets. Resa, with its interesting and intriguing mix of news, interviews, columns and features will make reading “happening” again for the younger generation.

With Resa, ANCL has once again broken new ground, as it has been doing for the last century and more. The Daily News congratulates the editor and staff of the Resa for a job well done and hopes that advertisers and readers will join them in telling the stories of the next 100 years and more.


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