Poor attendance in Parliament a perennial problem
More than 15 MPs, including the present Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sajith Premadasa, Harin Fernando and Duminda Dissanayaka have attended less than 50 Parliament sitting days out of the 145 days the House met during the 2017-2018 period.
The lowest attendance was by Ratnapura District UPFA MP Premalal Jayasekera who attended only 27 sittings, while CWC leader and UPFA Nuwara Eliya District MP Arumugam Thondaman came next with 34 days of attendance.
UPFA MP Duminda Dissanayaka attended sittings on 39 days while Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa attended on 40 days. UNP Deputy Leader, Minister Sajith Premadasa attended Parliament on 48 days and Minister Harin Fernando attended on 50 days.
Chief Government Whip Galle District parliamentarian Minister Gayantha Karunatillake and UNP Nuwara Eliya District MP K K Piyadasa clocked in the highest attendance with 143 days each, followed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who was present on 142 days.
Others with high attendance include UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman (140 days), UNP National List MP Ashu Marasinghe (139), Joint Opposition Group leader UPFA Colombo District MP Dinesh Gunawardena (137), UNP Kegalle District MP Sujith Sanjay Perera (136) and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella (135) days.
Others who attended more than 100 days of sitting include Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (115), JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, who functioned as Chief Opposition Whip till last month (114), Nimal Siripala De Silva (111) and former Leader of the Opposition TNA MP R Sampanthan (103).
Poor attendance in Parliament has been a perennial problem in recent years even though the sitting allowance for MPs was raised last year from Rs500 to Rs2,500 per sitting day.
(See full graph of attendance of all MPs on our online edition http://www.sundaytimes.lk/)