[CITIZENS' Mail - (07-01-2019)] | Daily News

[CITIZENS' Mail - (07-01-2019)]

Accountability of Parliamentarians

The Speaker of Parliament from time to time stressed the importance of electing suitable representatives to Parliament. They stated this owing to the issues they had to confront with certain Members of Parliament in respect of discipline during proceedings.

Parliament is the supreme legislature of the country. Laws have to be passed in Parliament. Finances have to be approved. And also vital issues pertaining to the policy of the government in power are debated in this August Assembly. All proceedings are not only recorded and published in the Hansard but also given wide publicity in the electronic and print media.

Parliament consists of both elected and nominated members since they represent the people, they are accountable to the people.

They should set an example because they are the accredited leaders of the country.

Therefore it is of paramount importance to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Parliament by the Members of Parliament both in the government and opposition. Otherwise, it will erode the prestige and image of the Supreme Legislature.

In the recent past, certain Members of Parliament have made derogatory remarks and used unparliamentary language. MPs are unnecessarily interrupted when speaking.

Irrelevant questions are asked and time is wasted. Recently there were disgraceful and unruly instances. When MPs removed the mace, papers were snatched from the Speaker. MPs were roughly handled causing injuries. The public in the gallery, distinguished visitors and sometimes students are watching all this drama and misbehaviour in Parliament. Speaker has to remind Members of the importance of good conduct and has adjourned Parliament on many occasions to restore order in the House.

Gone are the days when Parliament was adorned by stalwarts with impeccable conduct. They adhered to the traditional convention and the dignity and decorum of Parliament. We are reminded of Messrs. D. S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawela, M. D. Banda, C. P. de Silva, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, W. Dahanayake, Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, Dr. Wickremesinghe, W. Dahanayake, Pieter Keuneman, S. J. V. Chelvanagam, G. G. Ponnambalam, A. C. S. Hamid, Bakir Markar etc.

Their contributions in Parliament were greatly appreciated.

Late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike sold some of his estates to raise funds for the SLFP to contest in 1956 General election. Late Dudley Senanayake had just a few rupees to his credit in the bank when he passed away. Late C. W. W. Kannangara was financially in a difficult situation when he was old. Late W. Dahanayake travelled by train from Galle to Colombo.

There were no pensions for MPs at that time. The majority of MPs lived at ‘Sravasti’ when Parliament was functioning. The integrity of MPs was at a high level.

Consequently, it is necessary for all political parties to get together and formulate a strict code of ethics to the elected MPs of Parliament and ensure significant contributions, for the progress of the country.

M. S. M. Dahlan

Matara


 

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