By Saman Indrajith
Deputy Speaker and National List MP Thilanga Sumathipala has received death threats from Minister Navin Dissanayake for voting for the no-faith motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday night, parliament was told yesterday.
MEP leader and Joint Opposition parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday briefed Parliament on the alleged incident involving Sumathipala and Dissanayake in Parliament.
Sumathipala has, in a letter to Speaker Jayasuriya complained that Dissanayake threatened him near the elevator on the second floor while he was leaving Parliament after the vote on no faith motion. Sumathipala has also lodged a complaint with the police.
“As MPs we have a responsibility to ensure the Deputy Speaker can discharge his duties without interference,” Gunawardena said.
Responding to JO leader, Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said Sumathipala had been partial and his conduct wasn’t in conformity with his responsibilities as Deputy Speaker post. Kiriella said that he had taken up Sumathipala’s issue at a party leaders’ meeting recently. Sumathipala had participated in an SLFP press conference at its main office at T.B. Jayah Mawatha where the Prime Minister was criticised, the minister said. Kiriella further alleged Sumathipala had misinterpreted the Standing Orders when he asserted that a secret vote could be taken. What Sumathiapala said was totally wrong as secret votes could only be taken only on two occasions at the election of the Speaker and appointment of a President, Kiriella said.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured an impartial inquiry into the incident.
“I will be also sending a letter to you explaining the circumstances. Then you can hold an impartial inquiry and find out the truth. CCTV footage is available and there were two police officers at the scene of the incident. I can also lodge a Police complaint,” Dissanayake said.
“This is my eighteenth year in Parliament and all these many years I have never insulted any Member of Parliament. I have never acted in a manner that spoiled my good name or self-respect. I am hailing from a respected family. MP Gunawardena, knowing that I never behaved in such a manner, made those unfounded allegations against me.”