10 August, 2022


Parliament In Sri Lanka Is Increasingly Becoming Irrelevant

By M. A. Sumanthiran –

M. A. Sumanthiran MP

Speech by  M. A. Sumanthiran – in Parliament on 08th June 2012.

Thank you sir for providing me some time to speak on this motion moved by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake.

This is a timely motion that’s being brought to the Parliament, reminding us all that private members’ motions that are debated and approved must be taken seriously, since they are approved by Parliament. They cease to be labelled a private member’s motion once it is approved by Parliament because it is something the Parliament agrees with, and therefore from that point onwards there must be a seriousness attached to it. The Hon. Member has suggested that the Cabinet of Ministers must sanction them within 6 months and implement those, so that Members of Parliament contribute constructively to various matters that are brought to this Parliament, and this Parliament itself agrees and approves them as being relevant.

It is not only private members’ motions that are debated and approved and then forgotten about. There is a general tendency for ministers to give various undertakings on the floor of this House. Then matters deteriorate; those assurances are not respected. I’d like to mention two examples of this that is happening right at this moment.

On the 16th of December last year, the Hon. Leader of the House presented to this House the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and at the time of placing that in this House he made an important statement highlighting the recommendation of demilitarization that is made in the LLRC report. He said action will be taken immediately to ensure that the military engages only in security related matters and not involve themselves in any civilian affairs. Now that was an assurance given by no lesser person than the Leader of the House, not in answer to a question, not prompted by the Opposition, but all on his own accord. Now I can say in this House with responsibility, that contrary to that undertaking, in this week the military in Jaffna particularly, is involved in large scale land grabbing. We have seen this in the newspapers and I am personally aware, that in areas like Nallur, Kondavil, and many other places, the military has been visiting peoples’ private residences, asking for their deeds; telling them to come to the army camp. This happened two days ago, on Wednesday. They summoned people to an Army Camp, took them in their own vehicle to the Divisional Secretary’s office, and told them that the military has decided to take over some of those lands and that they are not to step into their own land. Fortunately the officers of the Divisional Secretary’s office did not go along with that suggestion, and have said that these are private lands and that they can’t survey them and hand them over to the military. But this is happening. This is happening in broad daylight. This is happening in a way that grates the feelings of the people there. This is happening contrary to the undertaking given in this House by the Leader of the House.

The second example that I want to draw is an assurance given in this House on the 21st of October last year by the Minister of Economic Development with regard to persons who have been displaced from the village of Sampur. At an adjournment debate when this issue was raised by my Party Leader the Hon. Minister rose and gave an undertaking saying that apart from the land that is required for the coal power plant, people will be resettled in the rest of the lands. Now an area has been demarcated and agreed upon as to where the coal power plant will be situated – that’s about 500 acres of land. Not even one house falls within that area – we have examined the maps. And so nobody will be displaced as a result of that Indian coal power plant coming up there. But on the 17th of May, action has been taken to demarcate another 508 acres as BOI (Board of Investment) land and to exclude people from entering that area. Now this is wholly contrary to that assurance given to this House by a responsible Minister on the 21st of October last year. Even after that minister gave that undertaking a question was asked of him: Why then are the people being forced to go to alternate places? His reply was: No, they don’t have to go to alternate places, they can remain there. But by December last year, pressure was brought on them. They were told that if they did not go to alternate places their food supply will be cut short, and from December last year no dry rations have been given to them in the various welfare centers that they are located in now. So, enormous pressure is being brought by officials despite assurances to the contrary that are given in this House.

Similar to the private members’ motions being approved by Parliament which are not implemented, I wish to draw the government’s attention to the fact that when Ministers give assurances in this House those must be taken very seriously. There is a general decay. Parliament is increasingly becoming irrelevant. We must stop that tide. We can’t allow that to happen. If ministers who are responsible for subjects stand up and give an assurance we take that assurance. We take their word for it, because those assurances are not just made on public platforms or election platforms, those are given in this House, and there is sanctity attached to that. I would like to urge the Hon. Ministers that when they give those assurances, that they should also follow it up and see that no countermanding orders are given by other persons; that the government must be theirs. If a subject has been assigned to them they must be in full control of that subject. They mustn’t allow brothers and sisters and family members, whoever they may be, to countermand the orders of the ministers, and the assurances that the ministers give in this House.

Thank you very much.

Webcast available at http://www.parliament.lk/webcast/video/ (beginning at 3.25 p.m. on 8th June 2012)


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Latest comments

  • 0

    To Become workable place Of Parliaemant first TNA should rejected demand of Seperataism,secessionism of Eelam state then join hand with majority community of Island.Be promated secular democracy and equal rights in the counrty ,(NOT so-called HOMELAND) withing Partliamentry democarty framework of United Sri Lanka.
    There are many and large numbers of southerns welcome your ACTIVE NATIONAL POLITICS in Island.TNA is still living Utopia of differnt politiacl agaenda.Give up MYTH of SJV’s concept separatest actvities, join for better livehood Tamils and other commuinites of Island.
    That is the excetpation of people,duty and responsability of your electrioal MANDATE.You (TNA) have elected not only for Tamils,for whole Island. Your (TNA) self-demaracation of sinister policy Eelam, undermine whole asprtation Tamils in Sri lanka and abord as well as other commuinties in Island.
    TNA has lost sight and her mission,still engage with illusion of anti-Sinhalese heterogeneity of infantile-disorder.Application of policy of harmonious between Tamils and Sinhalese are timely need after end of 45 years of terrorism and anarchism since south and north of JVP & LTTE.
    TNA is short-sight of her principle of democarcy pattern,that politics has to change.The form of struggle and mission need to be relized by Leaders of TNA withing framework of Island.Political leaders of any nation has work on long-term basis with system which your going to build.Vision of Politiacl party approch on solution ,NOT of perticular race or community or nation, work as whole nations and counrty.TNA should approch such policies.

    • 0

      Asking an oppressed minority that is engaged in a struggle for its freedom – if not for its own survival – to change its ways, especially after the recent genocide, militarisation and land grab in their homeland, is nothing but continuation (that is going on for over half a century) and further intensification of oppression by the majority community, now seen as a concerted attempt at complete elimination of the minority in keeping with war mongering Mahavamsa ideology for the creation of a monoethnic Sri Lanka.

      With such an approach, devoid of soul searching but arrogance by the majority community (as expressed in the above comment) the call for secession will only increase not decrease.

  • 0

    When parliament becomes irrelevent people will take to the streets! This is what the University folk and unions are now doing and a Sri Lanka Spring on the lines of the Arab Spring will ensure regime change. The writing is one the wall..
    Militarization by Gota the Goon will not stop this process as the rot is creeping deeper and deeper in all institutions. The regime spends 20 percent of GDP on militarization to intimidate opposition voices and 1.8 percent on education. It fears those who are educated and critical and seeks to undermine knowledge production – a deeply unpatriotic and insulting thing to do to the citizens of Lanka.
    There is rot in all institutions. Take Sri Lanka Airlines which was run well in partnership when in Emirates Air, but is now a bucket shop looted by Rajapakse cronies and a huge drain on public funds and Lankan taxpayers. On a flight from London recently the inflight magazine was 2 years old, the food mediocre, and no movies or entertainment was available since the TV screens on most passenger seats were broken. We are now fearful to fly on the Sri Lankan airlines which even during the worst days of the war was lovely when in partnership with Emirates. Now the Rajapakse are wooing Qatar Air and the Emir who must know what they are like!
    The Rajapakses are getting their hands on all institutions in order to loot them and debilitate them. Meanwhile the Criminal Cabraal at the central bank who the opposition should move to impeach, is issuing more debt (bond), playing the stock market with EPF funds after bending the rules and safeguards and deregulating, and selling gold reserves! What the hell is the opposition doing?! People of Lanka its time to stand up and be counted on the streets!

  • 0

    If Military was not involved in the civilian affairs, they won’t be able to catch the recent LTTE -cader killing the Canadian Tamil. Then the Tamils accused military killing it. But, it was found a LTTE -military wing cadre who killed him.

  • 0

    Even though Tamil politicians want everything to be normal in the North, North is not yet ready for such freedom. Because, they were used to the brutal violence and oppression for 30 years. As soon as they have freedom, start killing one another and govt will be out of control.

    It will be stupid if Military is removed from handling those affairs.

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