Parliament | Daily News


Farmers, fishermen and industries should be given fuel first

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) independent Parliamentarian Mahinda Amaraweera said in Parliament yesterday that the fuel supply for farmers, fishermen and industries should be given priority.

He said that water has been provided for paddy fields now. The farmers have not been able to commence farming due to the shortage of fuel to their machines. He added that if the country fails this season as well, the people will starve.

He added that fisherfolk, too, complain that they have not been able to go on fishing due to the fuel shortage. Industrialists also make the same complain.

He added that these two sectors that ensure the food security and inflow of foreign exchange should be provided fuel without interruption.



Opposition Leader urges Speaker to take steps to safeguard Journalists’ rights

Making a statement regarding the incident where the mobile phones of two parliament journalists were taken into the custody by two MPs and the response by the Speaker following an investigation, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that irrespective of whatever regulations, it was a common practice for journalists to obtain voice cuts from MPs following CoPE, COPA meetings and various other instances. He said that it was a general practice for journalists to obtain these voice cuts on their mobile phones, cameras or any other form.

The Opposition Leader, therefore, told the Speaker that if there was any specific regulation regarding the access granted to journalists, it was not being implemented or practised thus far.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday addressed the issue of two parliament journalists being obstructed by two Parliamentarians recently, where their mobile phones that they were recording proceedings were also taken into the custody of the two MPs.

The Speaker notified Parliament on Wednesday (18) that he would address the issue in Parliament yesterday following an investigation.

Accordingly, the Speaker in his statement said that as per the instructions he issued to the Sergeant-At-Arms, the Parliament Police had conducted an investigation and the report had been handed over to the Speaker.

He said that the two journalists in question had been recording the activities at the Committee Room 1 following the Government Members’ Meeting around 10 am on May 17. One of them was recording at the corridor near the Committee Room 1 while the other was recording in the lobby area between the Committee Rooms 5-6. “However, the two MPs who were irritated by the activities of the journalists had taken their mobile phones that they were recording on and handed it over to the Sergeant-At-Arms and made a statement in the House calling for an investigation and questioning their identity.”

The Speaker, however. noted that the two journalists are regular parliament correspondents who have been issued annual passes to cover Parliamentary proceedings and those in possession of these IDs carrying their photographs on them are allowed to cover committee proceedings between the areas from the main lobby up to the Medical Centre.

However, the Speaker noted that the journalists covering from the Committee Room Lobbies or Committee Rooms must have special permission from the Sergeant-At-Arms.

Therefore, he said, that investigations have revealed that the two journalists in question had not obtained such special permission to cover the activities on that particular day. “Under the present situation in the country, it is understandable that these MPs are rather sensitive to being videoed by unknown persons. However, upon my advice, the Sergeant-At-Arms took steps to return the two mobile phones to the respective journalists. Therefore, I advise all journalists covering Parliament to follow the given guidelines to avoid such incidents in the future.”

However, Sajith Premadasa said that on many occasions he himself had not only given voice cuts to local media but he had on one occasion even given a voice cut to an international media just as he stepped out of a Committee Room following a meeting.

“Therefore, Speaker, yes, the Parliamentarians do enjoy certain privileges, but these Parliamentarians do not have the privilege of confiscating the mobile phones from journalists. These Parliamentarians could perhaps come forward and say they made a mistake and apologise. But you must not try to justify their actions by bringing up various regulations. You must take steps to safeguard the rights of media personnel and protect media freedom. Now these journalists are being pressured to withdraw their complaint to the Police. Hence, don’t try to curtail the rights of journalists by hiding behind these regulations,” he added.

MP Buddika Pathirana also defended the rights of journalists and said that with the advancement of technology, journalists don’t always carry the cumbersome video cameras anymore and they most often use their smart phones and Tabs to record and report news. Therefore, he urged the Speaker not to hinder the activities of these journalists and their right to report freely.




All should get together at this juncture before it is too late –Harin

The Government side and opposition side members should get together at least at this juncture to get the country out of the labyrinth of chaos before it is too late, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Harin Fernando.

He was speaking in Parliament yesterday when the MPs of both sides engaged in shouting, creating a chaos in the House to prove them right with regard to the matter on fuel subsidy.

MP Harin Fernando said that none of the Parliamentarians have not yet comprehended that the cause behind the Parliamentarians facing by now is criticizing each other in the House. “Whatever the party, may be our own party, none is debating what the country needs, but attempting petty political benefits,” MP Fernando said. “The people do not need to know where the MPs got fuel from but they need a solution to their issue.”

He asked why both sides could not get together at a time when a Parliamentarian is assaulted to death. “At least for three months both sides should get together and resolve the issue at hand,” MP Fernando said. “We have to be ashamed of what we are doing,” he added.

He also said that following the 9-11 blast, the US Parliament got together to resolve their issue. “They did not divide themselves but got together. He added that that is the best example that we can follow.


COPA tables first report  in Parliament today


The first report of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) will be presented to Parliament today (20) by its Chairman, MP Tissa Vitharana.

This report contains information on the investigations of seven Government Institutions summoned by the Committee on Public Accounts from 04.08.2021 to 19.11.2021 and information on investigations pertaining to one particular audit report.

Accordingly, this report contains information on examinations regarding the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, Department of Co-operative Development, Department of Social Development, Department of Excise, Kurunegala Municipal Council, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Ministry of Environment and one special audit report on procurement of medical supplies carried out by the Medical Supplies Division of the Ministry of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, dated March 14, 2018.



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