By Shamindra Ferdinando
The use and non-use of viagra by members of Parliament dominated yesterday’s morning live telecast of parliamentary proceedings on the state-run Eye channel with actor-turned politician Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake insisting members shouldn’t gratify their carnal desires at the expense of the President’s Fund.
Gampaha District MP Ramanayake said that he didn’t mind it as long as public funds weren’t involved. Ramanayake intervened during a heated argument between former Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle and Kurunegala District UNP MP Nalinda Bandara over the President’s Fund having met the former’s medical bills.
Kandy District parliamentarian insisted that unlike some members he didn’t use viagra.
A smiling MP Rambukwella declared that it would be certainly better to have sexual relations with a woman than being a male prostitute. The former defence spokesman also made a reference to the MP and elderly women.
Deputy Speaker Tilanga Sumathipala chaired the session.
Earlier in the day, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya urged all MPs to behave and refrain from resorting to unparliamentary language as parliamentary proceedings were now telecast live from Monday (Nov. 21).
The Speaker said the live telecast of the debate on the third reading of the budget would be on Channel Eye of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation from 9.30 am to 6,30 pm till December 10.
A Pakistani delegation including a former woman Speaker was present during the debate. Deputy Speaker Sumathipala during the stormy session welcomed the Pakistani delegation.
The UNP castigated Rambukwella for receiving Rs 20 mn from the President’s Fund following treatment received in the wake of an accident at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia in February, 2012.
Rambukwelle sustained injuries to his legs after falling off a balcony of his Melbourne hotel.
A Kandy District UNP MP remarked that the then minister had been in an undue haste. Rambukwelle said the MP was one of those who needed viagra.
MP Nalin Bandara emphasized that it was very unfair on the part of Rambukwella to receive so much money from the President’s Fund while many needy people awaited help. Bandara castigated Rambukwelle, alleging that he had made four attempts to switch allegiance to UNP in the run-up to the last parliamentary polls. The UNP claimed that Minister Lakshman Kiriella had thwarted Rambukwelle’s bid.
Rambukwelle also responded to some remarks made by Minister Sarath Fonseka.