Sectorial Oversight Committees not appointed within two years, heated debate ensues

Sectorial Oversight Committees not appointed within two years, heated debate ensues

Sectorial Oversight Committees not appointed within two years, heated debate ensues

Written by Amani Nilar

21 Jan, 2022 | 2:12 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella says the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committees, which allows MPs to directly intervene in the legislative process have not been appointed for two years now.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday (21), the SJB MP made this statement, which was followed by a heated situation in the middle of the debate on the Government’s policy statement. 

Chief Opposition Whip, Lakshman Kiriella, speaking at the Parliament pointed out that the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee, which was established under the 20th amendment has unfairly not been appointed for over two years, however the Government is attempting to introduce a new constitution which he alleged was being drafted by the SLPP MPs’ personal attorneys.

Speaking further, Kiriella stated that a Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee must be appointed in order to discuss every sentence before introducing new legislation to Parliament.

Pointing out that both the 20th and the 19th Amendments included it, which is an important factor since legislative matters do not get discussed in depth at the Advisory Committee, the MP stated that Sectoral Oversight Committees are essential to appraise critical legislature word by word before bringing it to Parliament,

Responding to this, the Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated that previously, the permission of the house was given to revoke the particular article, when the Government revoked several Standing Orders.

Moreover, mentioning that the Sectoral Oversight Committee was established by the previous Government, Minister Gunawardena said that the current Government and the opposition agreed to establish advisory committees since the Sectoral Oversight Committee did not fill the requirements of the MPs properly.

Accordingly, Minister Gunawardena said, advisory committees were appointed in the last year, and additionally, what can be done by the Advisory committees cannot be done by the Sectoral Oversight Committees.

“Therefore we will only establish required committees. However, functions of any committee have not been cancelled,” he added.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Chaminda Wijesiri responded to the Minister’s statement, pointing out that the Sectoral Oversight Committees gave the power for MPs to question Ministers, however the current Government faction MPs talk about their issues, including the legislative ones, outside.

Moreover, MP Wijesiri stated that this committee allowed MPs to discuss professionally with Ministers and reach solutions to the problems of the people.

“Our Government did indeed lose power. But during this time when your Government is losing power, at least provide the opportunity for MPs to question Ministers. Otherwise, you are going down a wrong path,” he added.

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