Jan 13, Colombo: A letter signed by the Members of the Opposition in Sri Lanka Parliament today (13) requesting the Speaker to intervene to protect the freedom of speech of every Member of Parliament, to protect their privileges and to protect the lives of Members of Parliament has been handed over to the Speaker.
The letter has been handed over to the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena by the General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, according to reports..
The letter states:
"You are well aware that every Member of Parliament is legally entitled to express his or her views. This right has been legally granted for no other reason than the fact that Parliament is the ultimate institution for Members of Parliament to express their views on behalf of the people as representatives of the people.”
“However, we have seen the President responding to the statement made by MP Harin Fernando, naming the MP outside the parliament. Studying that whole statement reveals a somewhat threatening form of going against the freedom of speech.”
“You are aware that the President has the right to come to Parliament and participate in the Sessions of Parliament and to reply to it. We have seen similar statements made by the President’s followers in the state and social media.”
“We believe that this situation will have a serious impact on the freedom of speech as well as the security of the members of parliament and the democracy of the country.”
“Therefore, in view of this situation we request you, as the Leader of the House of Representatives and as the person who can work for the freedom of speech and security of life of all Opposition Members of Parliament, to intervene to protect the freedom of speech and the parliamentary privileges of the MPs and safeguard their lives,” the letter handed over to the Speaker further states.