The chief opposition whip, Lakshman Kiriella, alleged in Parliament today (18) that the president and the prime minister have reprimanded justice minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa on the phone for agreeing to postpone the second reading of the Election Expenses Regulation Act by a month.
The MP made the allegation when the Speaker announced that the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Affairs that was scheduled for today would be cancelled and instead a special discussion on the second reading of the Election Expenses Regulation Act would be held under the chairmanship of the President.
The parliamentarian who objected to it said that he was doing this to postpone the local government elections to be held in March.
Criticizing the president, who has been speaking the most since taking office, saying that the parliamentary committees should be strengthened, has interfered with the parliamentary process, Kiriella emphasized that today’s business should be done as agreed yesterday.
“We want a committee on parliamentary affairs to meet.” The Minister of Justice yesterday agreed to postpone the Election Expenses Regulation Act by one month. But number one and two have spoken to the minister and blamed him for agreeing to put off the second reading of the bill by one month.
The government is now trying to act contrary to what was assured, but it cannot be done. We are against this. It is wrong for the president to interfere with the parliamentary agenda.
Justice Minister Dr. Wijedasa Rajapaksa, who spoke, denied the allegation and questioned, “How did Kirella know what was discussed?” Was he listening in on the phone? Wijedasa Rajapakshe subsequently rejected that malicious accusation allegedly made by Kiriella.
However, the minister admitted that he discussed with the Prime Minister for more than an hour in the office room and spoke with the President on the phone.
Thereafter, he assured that bringing this bill to Parliament would not affect the conduct of the LG election.