COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s voters should elect honourable and knowledgeable people, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said, in the wake of a senior opposition legislator abusing the Prime Minister in profane language in parliament.
"A code of ethics is urgently needed for members of parliament," Wickremaratne told reporters in Colombo.
"I thought, when I first proposed a code of ethics I thought it was for newcomers like use who were not well-versed in parliament traditions. But now it is clear that it is the senior hands who need it."
Vasudeva Nanayakkara, a leftist politician, raising a point of order blasted Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who is under fire over a scandal involving the sale 30-year Treasury bonds.
Nanayakkara who was disturbed in raising the point of order accused the Prime Minister of playing the fool, making a joke of the issue, being simple minded using slang words and then castigated him with a Sinhalese expletive.
The speaker warned the veteran leftist politician that there were school children watching the proceedings form the gallery.
"It is to prevent the harm that is being done to the next generation that this code of ethics is needed," Wickremaratne said.
Wickremaratne said voters should elect well-brought up, or honourable people (hadicchcher) to the parliament, and everyone should act to change the political culture of the country.
"The main requirement to be a parliament is to be honorable," Wickremaratne said.
He recalled an instance soon after he was first appointed, where in the presence of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, opposition legislators chased his colleague Harin Fernando to assault him inside the parliament.
Wickremaratne said there were also many parliamentarians who were known to be involved in illegal dealings, carrying fire arms, drug dealing and involved in the management of brothels.
"It is not necessary to wait till they are convicted in court," he said. "Very soon there will be an election and the people’s court have an ability to vote or not.
"This is the chance for the people to reject unsuitable people."
He said legislators were supposed to make laws and they should be knowledgeable.
"I am not saying they should have gone to University," Wickremaratne said. "It is not necessary to have a degree. My mother did not go to University but she is a person of great knowledge.
"People can come from any walk of life. But they have to have some learning."
Meanwhile analysts say if illiberal representatives are elected, or those that believe in the sovereignty of the parliament or the sovereignty of the state, rather than the sovereignty of the individual, people will lose their freedoms, which is what has happened for most of Sri Lanka’s post independent history.