Leave personal agendas and fulfill people’s hopes | Daily News
PM tells MPs at Orientation Programme:

Leave personal agendas and fulfill people’s hopes

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa advised the newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) to improve their professionalism without considering the age or the MP post as a barrier.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Orientation Programme for the MPs of the Ninth Parliament, he recalled how he attended the lectures of the Law College while representing Parliament.

“There were no online education facilities at that time, but now you can register to follow even foreign university courses online.

Becoming an Attorney-at-Law was of help to me when we lost in 1977. Nobody can win elections forever. Nowadays, some MPs are used to demanding ministerial portfolios soon after they enter Parliament. Remember that in the first place, people do not send a ‘minister’ to Parliament, but a ‘Parliamentarian’. If you do not do the role of a Parliamentarian properly, then the people will not hesitate to pack you off home despite how powerful your ministry may be,” he said.

He also underlined that an individual, who cannot remain in the Government without a ministerial portfolio, would fail in politics in the Opposition.

“Such MPs are in the habit of switching sides in Parliament when they happen to be in the Opposition. We have to keep in mind that such MPs do not have a bright future in politics,” he noted.

He also requested the MPs to attend Parliament regularly without scheduling other work on the Parliament sitting days. “There had been instances where the MPs had gone elsewhere telling their homes that they are attending Parliament,” he quipped.

PM Rajapaksa stressed that the Constitutional making process has to be carried out without political party divisions as every minute detail in it, even a coma or a full stop, matters to the people’s lives.

He pointed out that the 2005 Presidential Election and the 2020 General Election were the two most critical Elections in his lifetime where the people entrusted with him the highest responsibilities.

“With the recent unprecedented mandate of the people, the Government has no time left for a ‘honeymoon’ or political witch-hunting. The people are expecting a massive Constitutional change. We have to leave aside our personal agenda and fulfill their aspirations first,” he commented.

“The people had given a strong message in the last Election. I believe no party could engage in a massive campaign spending a lot of money at the last Election. There had been no posters, cut-outs, musical shows, processions, or huge rallies filled with busloads. Yet, 71 percent of our people voted. This indicates that our people love democracy. They had shown that they are not hesitant to send any MP home, despite the political lineage, if that person failed in his role. They elected 81 new faces. The people had not chosen MPs by the level of their education only. Maintaining connectivity with the people is important,” he added.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, observing that Parliament is the mirror of the nation, said that serving MPs must be careful not to repeat their past mistakes or negligence in Parliament. He requested all MPs to live up to the people’s expectations.

Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella also pointed out that the reputation of Parliament was damaged due to ugly incidents in the last Parliament, and the incumbent Parliament has to restore its lost dignity by engaging in civilized debates. “That is what I request from the new MPs. Patience is important in Parliament. Listen to the criticism patiently and respond later,” he noted.

Recalling how he had worked together with PM Rajapaksa in the past, he commented that they must work without losing their old friendships despite which side they are in.

About 100 MPs, including about 77 first-timers, attended the workshop yesterday and it will continue today. Basic knowledge on Parliament procedure, traditions, duties and privileges of MPs, and Committee affairs will be imparted during the workshop.