A heated argument broke out in Parliament today between Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha and UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri, over the question if the Local Government Minister was aware that an account belonging to the Provincial Council, had been take over for the personal use of the Chief Minister of the Uva Province.
Minister Musthapha, responding, said that information with regard to such an incident and account had not been revealed to him. He said that all accounts belonging tothe Uva Provincial Council complied with existing Financial Regulations and Provincial Council Regulations.
The Minister said further said that the question raised by the UNP MP is not even relevant to his ministry, since no illegal or improper transaction related to the Uva Provincial Council has been revealed.
The question was raised by the UNP MP during the question-and-answer time.
Raising an additional question, the UNP MP asked if Minister Musthapha was attempting to safeguard the Uva Province Minister or take necessary measures to take him before the law.
Responding to him, Minister Musthapha said the UNP MP had raised a defamatory question and that MPs should be more responsible and ask questions in a respectable manner without resorting to defamation.
The Minister went further to question the Speaker on if a MP has right to ask a question related to a private account maintained by a Minister at the Ministry.
He also said that UNP MP Wijesiri had previously raised a series of questions regarding alleged financial misappropriation by the Uva Provincial Council Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, and asked if the MP had a personal dispute with the Uva Province Chief Minister.
Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim intervened at this point, saying MPs had the right to ask any questions they wanted to, in Parliament, and none of the Minister can ask them not to.
Public Administration Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara waded in, and asked the Minister to answer the questions raised by the MP, claiming that it was his right.
Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said though the Minister claimed that MPs should ask questions in a respectable manner, questions related to a theft cannot be asked by respecting the person involved in that theft, because the thief is the thief and there are no other respectable words to define him.
UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardane said that a MP ask a question once it was included it in the order paper after receiving the approval of the Speaker. So a Minister has no right to refute a question approved by the Speaker.
UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane also said that no body can breach the right of a MP.
UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa said not only today when the MP raised the same question before, both Minister and the State Minister acted like this. They only questioned the MP without responding him. So I think this is like "Horage ammagen pena ahanawa" since the Minister is the who provided legal advice to the Chief Minister to maintain such an account.
Speaker Karu Jayasooriya said that there is no wrong in asking questions in Parliament reminded that it is a privilege of the MPs and it is necessary to protect this right of MPs.