Deputy Chairman of Committees, Ramalingam Chandrasekaran, MP has taken back three vehicles, including a Prado he had handed over to Parliament immediately after the recent dissolution of Parliament.
The JVP National List MP yesterday told The Island that he had the authority to use two vehicles as the Deputy Chairman of Committees.
Chandrasekeran, who is in the fray in the Nuwara Eliya electoral District at the upcoming parliamentary election, said his private secretary, media secretary and the media officer were authorised to use a vehicle each.
The JVP is contesting on the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) ticket in all 22 electoral districts.
Responding to a query by The Island, Chandrasekeran said that immediately after the dissolution of Parliament, all five vehicles, one laptop and three mobile phones belonging to him and his staff had been handed over to Parliament. According to him, in view of Parliament meeting again last Tuesday (March 9) to pass emergency regulations, the Office of the Deputy Chairman of Committee could enjoy all privileges it had been entitled to before the dissolution. He said that his staff could take back the two remaining vehicles.
Of the five vehicles, Chandrasekeran uses the Prado and a car whereas a duty free vehicle he had obtained as an MP is in the JVP vehicle pool. Chandrasekeran said that all others, including those holding positions in Parliament could import a duty free vehicle each.
The JVPer s personal staff members , too, have taken back their mobile phones. The MP said he wouldn t need the laptop.
He said the government and Opposition members could now enjoy all facilities and privileges until the Parliament met again on April 22 following the April 8 parliamentary election.
He said Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara and Deputy Speaker Priyankara Jayaratne and their staff, too, would benefit.
He said all MPs were now entitled to all perks, privileges and their salaries for March and April.
Non-Cabinet ranker Mervyn Silva last Tuesday said he wouldn t take his salary for March and April and urged his parliamentary colleagues to follow his example.
National List MP and UNP candidate Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday said the country could no longer ignore the need to review perks and privileges given to MPs. He said Parliament was responsible for pathetic state of affairs, particularly in relation to financial discipline as revealed in periodic revelations by parliamentary watchdog committees, Public Accounts Committee and Committee on Public Enterprises as well as the Auditor General.