Wednesday, 9 July 2003  
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Speaker to crack whip on violators of Parliament dignity

by Jayantha Sri Nissanka and Bharatha Malawaraarachchi

Speaker Joseph Michael Perera yesterday vowed to take stern action to ensure the security of the Parliament and protect its dignity and decorum.

"Parliament is supreme and belongs to the people of the country. Therefore, it is my responsibility to act against MPs who are attempting to destroy the dignity and decorum of Parliament - in an impartial and disciplined manner," the Speaker added.

The Speaker in his statement was referring to the incident which occurred on June 19 where a group of opposition MPs sneaked a coffin into the Chamber disrupting the proceedings of the House for several hours. At the outset, the Speaker referred a motion on privilege issue raised by Ranjith Aluvihare - to the Committee on Privilege.

MP Ranjith Aluvihare raised the privilege issue regarding a bag brought into the parliamentary premises by three MPs on June 17 without allowing inspection by the parliamentary police.

Explaining the incident where the coffin was sneaked into Parliament and the steps taken by him to ensure the smooth functioning of the House, Speaker Joseph Michael Perera said steps had already been taken to act against those responsible for the incident under the standing orders and the Privileges Act.

"Accordingly, under the Parliament powers vested in me, I have taken steps to act against the MPs who forcibly brought a coffin into this House disturbing the duties of Parliament and the police and also for damaging the reputation of the House.

The MPs who attempted to damage the properties of Parliament including the microphone machine will also be dealt with," the Speaker added.

The Speaker said he will also act against the supply of a spanner to prepare the coffin, the MP forcibly took a photocopy from a Parliament document and also the police who were planning to enter the House wearing the Parliament employees' uniform.

Speaker Joseph Michael Perera who explained the whole incident in detail said this has created serious problems concerning the security of parliament and also the safety of the MPs.

"Taking into consideration the history of parliament, highest and full attention of all of us should be paid to ensure the security of parliament," he added.

The Speaker also revealed that certain steps have already been taken to strengthen the parliament security with an urgent discussion with the IGP.

"Accordingly, I have ordered to conduct a thorough inspection on all the people entering parliament on the sitting days and the day before the commencement of parliament sittings," said the Speaker.

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