Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has observed that party leaders must ensure that parliamentarians belonging to their parties observe the right code of conduct in Parliament without bringing the decorum of the House to ridicule especially at a time we are striving to strengthen Parliament.
He was referring to an allegation by a member of parliament that he was threatened and obstructed from addressing the House by three of his colleagues.
The Premier was making a statement in the course of his speech in the committee stage debate on the expenditure heads of the Ministries of Parliamentary Reform and Mass Media, Petroleum Resource Development and Power and Renewable Energy, proposed in Budget 2016.
Wickremesinghe regretted that there was no point in strengthening the parliamentary system if members resort to fisticuffs instead of debating.
He said: “Members come to Parliament in order to take part in debates on policy decisions, not to vent their anger on other MPs and settle personal scores and disputes.
An acquaintance called me this morning and told me that those members of the previous government, who, when they were in power, had attacked Muslims outside of Parliament, are now attacking Muslims inside Parliament while in the Opposition. MPs cannot attack other members, irrespective of the parties they belong to. Strict discipline in this regard must be maintained.
We are proposing to transfer presidential powers to Parliament. This would mean more responsibilities for MPs. If this is to become a reality then this Parliament cannot be a place of violence. MPs must act responsibly and political parties must be responsible for the behaviour of their MPs instead of trying to evade responsibility by expecting Parliament to take action, apart from that responsibility. Political parties must take action against unruly MPs.”