Ministers do not speak for country

June 30, 2009

Focus only on their constituencies: Suranjit
Awami League (AL) lawmaker Suranjit Sengupta criticised some ministers for speaking only about their own constituencies rather than the entire country during discussion on the proposed budget in parliament yesterday.
Suranjit, chief of the parliamentary standing committee on law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry, also fired a broadside at a number of ministers for being absent during budget discussion in the morning.
“Ministers do not speak for the country, they limit their discussion on the problems of their constituencies. What will you do with this kind of ministers, Honourable Speaker?” Suranjit said.
He criticised Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and other senior ministers for being absent during the budget discussion.
The finance minister, however, came in within a few minutes.
Coming down heavily on the main opposition lawmakers for not joining House proceedings, Suranjit said they should resign if they do not want to perform their constitutional duties. He also proposed enacting a law, if required, to make sure that opposition lawmakers are present in the House.
The AL presidium member also suggested that a re-call system be introduced which would empower voters of a constituency to call a lawmaker back if he or she fails to meet their expectations.
He suggested that the provision of quorum system in parliament be abolished since he believes the main work of the House goes on in the committees.
Referring to the seating arrangement row, for which the main opposition lawmakers are remaining absent in parliament, Suranjit proposed scrapping the existing system of allocating seats for lawmakers. Except two seats, all seats in the House might be kept open for all lawmakers, he said adding that one could get a seat on first–come first–get basis.
On the proposed budget, Suranjit said it is not a traditional budget. “How will the budget be implemented with existing bureaucracy,” he questioned.
He also spoke for changes in political culture to move the country ahead.
On the Tipaimukh dam issue, Suranjit said people do not want to compromise the national interest.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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