Disagree with Respect

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There is an ethical code of conduct that all the Parliamentarians are required to abide by, respecting the tradition of Parliament. However, transgressing the traditions and customs of House is often witnessed in developing countries and Sri Lankan Parliament is one of the top places in the world where the unruly, boisterous and unbecoming behavior by the “Honorable“ Parliamentarians are recurrently shown, making it an abode to a “dishonorable” rabbles.  

When the Parliament was reconvened on 14 November, after a prorogation of a period of 19 days by a gazette notification issued by President Maithripala Sirisena, violence broke out in House in a highly immoral manner. For the second day in succession, on 15 November Parliament descended into mayhem again and the MPs displayed a highly obstreperous of behavior by contravening the traditions, laws and the ethical codes of conduct in a downright blatant manner.

As a result of pandeamonium in Parliament, two MPs injured and one was hospitalized.

However, the most highlighted and the spoken of incident, among other unruly hurly-burly in House on the second day was the possession of knives by two Parliamentarians, Palitha Thewarapperuma and Ranjan Ramanayake which posed a serious menace to the security of the Parliamentarians.

It should be investigated as to how these two Parliamentarians were able to bring the knives into the House and what was their motive behind bringing them. MP Palitha Thewarapperuma, approached a group of ruling party members with a pointing knife. However, some members were able to subdue him and subsequently prevented him from lacerating any MP with his knife.

MP Thewarapperuma had reportedly intimidated the fellow MPs of the ruling party that if anyone moved forward towards him, he would kill them. Later, a ruling party MP lodged a complained with the Parliament Police with regard to the incident.

Possessing knives and intimidating and threatening to kill the fellow Parliamentarians are against the tradition and the law of Parliament and serious actions should be taken against these two MPs who possessed knives and recurrence of such events should be thwarted.

On the third day of the Parliament yesterday, the ruling party MPs displayed a disgraceful behavior by damaging the properties of Parliament, using highly churlish language, occupying the seat of the Speaker and not letting the Speaker carryout his duties. Their manner was highly uncouth and unbecoming for the policy makers.

However, on the third day of the Parliament, the Opposition Members did not take part in the fracas. During the rumpus which was initiated and carried out by the ruling party Members of Parliament, chili powder was casted (allegedly by the ruling party MPs) at the Police officers who made a human shield to protect the Speaker and the Mace (Senkolaya) that represent the Supremacy of House.

However, in the same event, Gamini Jayawickreme Perera, an elderly opposition MP was thrown chili powder in the eyes and was mercilessly put in a pathetic plight.

Sri Lanka’s image was tarnished once again in the international arena with regard to the decency and the dignity of the Parliamentarians in the successive events that took place in the Parliament during these three days.  

Public was highly disappointed and disgusted with the manner their representatives behaved in the House which is the place of decision as well as policy making. The public, however, by now should have decided that these canailles should not be elected to the country’s supreme place again.  

However, it is deplorable to note how hideous the representatives that we chose to represent ourselves in the House behave. Parliamentarians are a fraction that represents all the citizens in the country and precisely the reflection of all of us.

A question arises as to how we can look up to them as our role models. Can we keep our faith in them at all as they do not even respect the tradition of Parliament? It is the public who chose to send them to House to represent them, although the voters hardly expect this type of behavior from them.

They are the policy makers. They are required to have at least a scant knowledge in the law of the country. They are supposed be a group that respect and follow ethics, codes of conduct, and good manners albeit, which is not the case in Sri Lankan politics.   

Taking serious notice of the hideous manner the very representatives of us behaved in Parliament, before the local and foreign delegates as well as the media present, it is time that we voters collectively appeal to all the Parliamentarians.  Please do not undermine the right of your fellow Members of Parliament. Disagree with respect. And by doing so, you fulfill your very responsibility in protecting the interests of the public, their rights and image of the country and above all, you uphold the much spoken of democracy!

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