Not even the shadow minister in Parliament

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday announced in Parliament that the revised Standing Orders would be distributed among the Party Leaders next week. He said those would be implemented in August. He said as of the revised Standing Orders, it is compulsory for the relevant subject Ministers, Deputy or State Ministers to remain in the House to reply to the questions asked by MPs. He made this observation when Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella brought the attention of the Speaker that the relevant subject Minister or Deputy Minister was not present in the chamber to respond to a question by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake. MP Dissanayake had raised a question under Standing Order 23 (2) from the Petroleum Industries Minister. Neither Minister Chandima Weerakkody nor Deputy Minister Anoma Gamage were present in the chamber to respond to it. Leader of the House Kiriella said that he had not received a reply to the question from the Ministry. “I have only got the question. If the relevant Minister or Deputy Minister is not present, there is no point in raising the question. This is an insult to the House. Not even the shadow minister is present,” he said. At this point, Joint Opposition MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake said that he could manage the shadow Cabinet Ministry of the Petroleum Industries. Kiriella said if the MP is ready to crossover, the Government could bestow him a ministerial portfolio.
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