The Day August Assembly went to the Dogs
On the 10th of January 2018, Sri Lanka created history inside the Parliament Chamber at Diyawanna with contemptible behaviour, displayed by some members of the Joint Opposition (JO) and the UNP members, which ended up in a brawl, when a special sitting was convened to table the report compiled by the Commission of Inquiry on the Treasury Bond Scam, and 34 reports of Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into Serious acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC).
The pictures displayed on TV and social media showed how the joint Opposition (JO) Members invaded the well of the House of Parliament, carrying placards, shouting 'Hora' (thief), whilst Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe attempted to add fuel to fire, in an atmosphere where the tempers of the House had reached a volatile level, by attempting to give a 'discourse' prior to the proceedings. All the reports were scheduled to be available, from the Presidential office, to Parliament only a week later!
Taken by Surprise
What became beyond one's comprehension was how the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, being a senior politician, got carried away and, got caught on camera, prompting his colleagues, to repeat after him, before howling 'kawda hora, kawda hora, ‘to which his associates replied, which was inaudible due to the ear splitting raucousness amidst thuggary and obscenity, fisticuffs and throwing of objects inside the August assembly. That caused ambulances to carry the injured MPs to hospital, while a few others exchanged blows at each other, and one or two collapsed and fainted.
MPs are elected by the voters to formulate necessary Bills and Laws, which help the progress of the country. Therefore, it's regrettable that this supreme office was transformed into a boisterous and unruly showground, which sent a message, loud and clear, to the outside world that the Sri Lanka Parliament is full of illiterate ‘baboons' as representatives of the people.
National Audit Bill
The National Audit Service (NAS) immediately responded with a request to the public "not to cast their vote at the upcoming Local Government Polls, in favour of the Yahapalanaya Government" (news item), and challenged the government to ratify the NAB, if possible, by tabling the Bill in the Parliament on 23 January as a proof of Yahapalanaya Government's determination to usher in an administration devoid of fraud and corruption.
The National Audit Bill (NAB) was an election pledge of Yahapalanaya to protect the State finances and public property, or any representative of a political party. The latest being, it was reported in the news media (15th January 2018) that the final draft of the National Audit Bill, after being amended 23 times already, and approved by the Attorney General, has been forwarded yet again by the Prime Minister's Office to the Legal Draftsman for more amendments! This is seen as grossly illegal, since it had gone beyond the authority of the Cabinet Sub-Committee before.
The scene, at the Parliament Well, indeed was horrendous to watch when the representatives of the people in this county using utter lewd language, in the cream of Sinhala at each other, and getting entangled in fisticuffs. To hold a parliamentary session citizens pay heavily as taxes. The cost per single session is said to be Rs 5million. The only reason, therefore, why voters in this country keep on appointing repeatedly, such hooligans to Parliament, is nothing but due to a curse upon this blessed country.
The politicians in the bygone era were decent and gentlemanly. However today, such charisma displayed by former civilised representatives, has gone by the way side, and replaced with a gang of self-centred business minded and uneducated ruffians, who display vulgarity, dabbling with bribery, corruption and nepotism, directly or indirectly, for their individual gains.
Privileges and Perks
All Parliamentarians receive fixed salaries, plus allowances of various kinds. An additional allowance is also paid to encourage them to participate in parliamentary sessions (to fall asleep in their seats and/or enjoy the subsidized sumptuous canteen meal at the cost of the tax payer)! Additionally they enjoy an allocation of duty-free vehicle permits (open secret), which they dispose of, to become multi-millionaires overnight! It is rather hilarious to listen to some Ministers' comments that they need nothing but luxury limousines to carry out development work, and to visit rural areas in order to listen to, and address peoples' concerns! People see on a daily basis on TV, how villagers in several parts of the country, keep on lamenting and even threatening politicians not to come begging any more for votes, at the forthcoming local polls, in certain areas in which they have been plaintive.
One thing became crystal clear out of this horrible incident was that 'one group of rogues' blamed and shouted at another 'group of rogues' forgetting the very fact, that in the eyes of the public, they are all ‘rogues’ with allegations of bribery and corruption (in dealing with tender procedures), illegal earth excavations, destruction of wildlife sanctuaries and killing of elephants (for ivory), and the worst being how 'higher Johnnies' in the government pipeline discouraging many a prospective foreign financier keen on investing in Sri Lanka getting discouraged, as a result of high demands of huge commissions prior to such approvals.
World's leading politicians do not stoop to gutter level; they rather direct their energies on performances. Rumours indicate against Ranil Wickremesinghe that he being the architect behind all the recent trials and tribulations that prevail in the country, whilst President Maithripala Sirisena does not have the urgency to bring the final report of the Bribery Commission to Parliament, except according to his own timing and strategy!
Nevertheless, the President will have to face the challenge soon, whether his party will be the winner or shelved into the third or fourth slot.