Poor at­ten­dance in Par­lia­ment a peren­nial prob­lem

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - PARLIAMENT/NEWS - By Chan­dani Kirinde

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/)

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