Parliament | Daily News



Premier requests Speaker to hold special parliamentary session on November 11

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to hold a special parliamentary session on November 11 at 10.30 am.

Special Parliamentary Sitting will be held on that day to debate the Bill on the Prevention of Offences in Sports and National Innovation Agency Bill following a request made by the Prime Minister to the Speaker under the Standing Order No. 16.

According to the provisions of Parliament Standing Order 16, during an adjournment of more than forty-eight hours duration, the Speaker if so requested by the Prime Minister, can give notice convening Parliament. Convening as per the Prime Minister’s request will be an earlier date than to which Parliament had adjourned as may be contained in the request.

The decision was made after the Committee on Parliamentary Business decided to hold the special Sitting yesterday (7)

According to the Order Paper yesterday, the National Innovation Agency Bill and three Regulations under the Section 41 read with Section 31 of the Sports Law No. 25 of 1973 regarding National Associations of Sports were scheduled to be taken up for debate during the Sitting.

However, it was announced that the debate on National Innovation Bill would be postponed. Regarding the three regulations under the Sports Law, Parliament General Secretary informed the Speaker that the regulations had not been approved by the Sectoral Oversight Committee. Without that approval, they could not be taken into the debate, it was informed.

Sports Minister Harin Fernando then said that when the three regulations were taken into the discussion at the Sectoral Oversight Committee, there was no quorum in it.

“However, the Bill on Prevention of Offences in Sports approved and why it was not in the Order Paper?” he questioned and accused that there was a conspiracy in Parliament to stop debating the Bill to protect corruptors.

Thereafter, the Speaker noted that if the House agrees the three Regulations could be debated without the approval of the Sectoral Oversight Committee. Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the government agreed to hold the debate.

Both United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said that they also agreed to hold the debate because of the importance of the regulations. However, they insisted that this practice should not be repeated.

Therefore, the debate on the regulations was held and Parliament was adjourned until December 3.

The Business Committee headed by the Speaker then decided to hold a Special Parliamentary Sitting on 11 November to debate the Bill on the Prevention of Offences in Sports since the Government insisted on holding a debate on the Bill as soon as possible. The National Innovation Agency Bill will also be presented to Parliament on the same day for Second Reading.

Steps should be taken to submit state institutions’ last year accounts – Speaker

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament yesterday that measures should be taken to submit last year accounts of all state institutions.

The Speaker said this in response to MP Sunil Handunnetti’s statement regarding university funds and the admission of students to universities at the time the parliament committee reports were presented to Parliament.

The Speaker noted that in certain universities there were instances where their accounts were delayed by two years. He added that he would bring this to the notice of the Finance Minister.

The fourth report on state universities of the CoPE of the second session of the eighth Parliament was presented by its Chairman MP Sunil Handunnetti.

Laws will be brought to prevent corruption, frauds in sports - Harin

New laws will be formulated to prevent corruption, frauds and match fixing in sports, said Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando in Parliament yesterday.

He made these observations joining the debate on three regulations under the Sports Law.

He said that none who engage in match fixing, betting and corruption will have no room to enter sports or sports administration. He said that although there are many issues faced by the sportsmen in the country, all will be resolved in future imposing new laws. Minister Harin Fernando said that even though a very important piece of law is debated today, the Bill was not included in the order paper. “There were only the regulations. This attempt is to make the Sports clean. The first regulation is for accounting purposes by the Auditor General while the second regulationsis to prevent corruption gambling related to the sports. None attached to gambling and even a relative of such a person is unable to join sports or the sports administration.

He said that these regulations have been introduced to clean the sports from corruption. “The oversight committee had the quorum to debate the Prevention of Offenses in Sports Bill. But today when I came to Parliament, the Bill was not in the order paper. However, these regulations did not have quorum that day, but they are in the Order Paper,” he said.

"It seems that there is an attempt in Parliament to protect these gamblers in Sports," Minister Harin Fernando said. "I have a doubt if there is an attempt to protect a former deputy speaker who had involvement in sports and gambling. I also request to commence an investigation to find out who had attempted to prevent this bill being taken in the house. Sometimes they might think that they could cover them after November16," he said.

The Bill that we formulated over a long period of time and delayed on 16 occasions was to punish the offenders in Sports. He added that if one was proved beyond reasonable doubt before a High Court that he had involvement in Sports related offenses, he should be fined Rs. 100 million and another 10 years’ imprisonment. However, I request to take up this Bill on a special sitting day,” he said.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that it could be discussed at a Party Leaders' Meeting.


Investigations on State Universities highlighted

CoPE fourth report submitted

The fourth report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (CoPE) was tabled in Parliament yesterday which brought to light the findings of the investigations on State Universities and Higher Education Institutions. The report highlighted the questionable transactions and decisions made at 17 state universities between March 17, 2017 and April 4, 2018 The Auditor General also has highlighted them.

Opposition lawmaker Sunil Handunnetti moving the CoPE report, held that CoPE has on several occasions discussed in depth the observations that were disclosed about the university system of Sri Lanka from the audits carried out. Although the CoPE has issued directives and recommendations from time to time to resolve these issues, the level of adherence to these directives and recommendations is not satisfactory.

He noted that unlike on past instances, this report is exclusively on state universities presented together along with the report from the Auditor General. “We have observed a gradual decline of undergraduate intake to universities. For example, 45 per cent of the applicants are admitted to universities in 2013-14. But 38.7 per cent applicants are admitted in 2017-18,” he said.


Interim cricket board should be appointed – Arjuna

An interim cricket board should be appointed to protect the Cricket in the country, said Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga in Parliament yesterday.

He made these observations joining the debate on three regulations under the Sports Law made by Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando and moved in Parliament yesterday.

He added that the turf accountants too should be prevented from joining Cricket administration to develop the cricket in the country.

He said that it was commendable bringing in laws to prevent the faults attached to the sports including corruption, betting, and match fixing among others. "In the past, I pointed out such faults in relation to the sports to the leaders and sports ministers," Minister Ranatunga said. "But none took measures to ban them."

He said that the situation with the sports before 2015 was pathetic. He added that although he thought that the sports would be developed after 2015, it didn't. It happened since those persons who were defeated at the general election were appointed to Parliament via list.

He added that there are laws to prevent the turf accountants coming into administer the sport activities which has become an issue to the development of the sports. But the sports ministers had not attended to them. He said that earlier only a chartered accountant could be appointed as the Treasure of the Sri Lanka Cricket. Later the laws were amended enabling even a accounts clerk to be appointed to the position. However, thereafter much corruption occurred after appointing disqualified person. The Sports Minister met the International Cricket Councils officials where he was shown footage related to match fixing.

"We saw what happened to the Zimbabwe Cricket match with Sri Lanka which the latter had 70 per cent chance to win," Minister Ranatunga said. "However the Zimbabwe achieved a massive victory. The betters then earned unpredictably. These are the matters that we have to investigate."





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