Ethics for Sri Lankan Parliamentarians

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Hon. Prime Minister

We have pleasure in forwarding a petition entitled "Ethics for Sri Lankan Parliamentarians" signed by over 5,000 right-thinking people in this country.

Given the goings-on in the recent past in Parliament, we are sure you will agree with us that a lot of the sitting Peoples' Representatives in Parliament aren't qualified and nor do they deserve to be there.

In fact, parliamentary proceedings have become a joke in this country - especially the antics from the 26th October 2018, which, thankfully ended in 52 days!

We are therefore putting forward a few suggestions to avoid this type of individual gaining access to Parliament, purely by the number of votes he/she commands. Also, the quality of the National List MP's being brought in leave much to be desired!

*01.*
The minimum requirement for a Parliamentarian is to have the GCE Advanced Level qualification. This will eliminate the type of unsuitable elements who are in there at the moment. Retirement age should be 65 for politicians. The President or PM can be allowed to stay till 70 years of age maximum
*02.*
Parliamentarians’ pay should be revised by the National Salaries Commission, as is the case with all Government employees. Currently, they increase their salaries and other benefits arbitrarily by voting for themselves. It is recommended that they be paid on the same level as Corporate Executives at their respective level, to eradicate the need for corruption. This happens in most advanced countries.
*03.*
Parliamentarians should NOT get a Pension since it is NOT employment but Election. If they are good enough, they can get re-elected again etc. Currently, they get pension after 5 years of service. A system of monitoring by giving them targets and Key Performance Indicators (KPI), with bi-annual reviews of their performance should be introduced, thereby identifying and removing unsuitable individuals.
*04.*
Benefits like free personal travel (including by air), electricity, water, phone bills etc should be abolished - as stated in 2 above. A reasonable fuel allowance to cover outstation and official travel may be paid. Vehicle loan arrangements could also be provided.
*05.*
Only the President and the PM will be entitled to Security contingents, armoured and emergency vehicles etc. In an Emergency/ War situation, this requirement can be reviewed and action taken accordingly
*06.*
Parliamentarians should participate in the same health-care system as the Sri Lankan people. There should be no Health Insurance schemes for them paid for by the Central or Local Governments. Under no circumstances should treatment for Parliamentarians be paid for by the President’s or similar Government Funds, even if they are travelling abroad for treatment. Sri Lankan hospitals and doctors are perfectly capable of offering similar quality of treatment. In very exceptional cases, where treatment is unavailable here, after Cabinet approval, such payments could be considered.
*07.*
Parliamentarians with tainted records, criminal charges and convictions, past or present, should be summarily banned from the parliament and CONTESTING elections.
*08.*
Parliamentarians are prohibited from employing members of their immediate family, in their own offices, the Ministry of which they are in charge or any department which comes under their purview. This will go a long way towards abolishing bribery and corruption.
*09.*
Financial Losses incurred due to mismanagement/misappropriation by politicians while in office (if proven after investigation), must be recovered from them, their families’, beneficiaries’, nominees’, companies’ properties, bank deposits, shares, vehicles, and physical precious metal stashes etc.
*10.*
Parliamentarians should equally abide by all laws they impose on the Sri Lankan people. They should not be given any preferential treatment, as they are supposed to be servants of the people – not the other way around! This applies to traffic offences too.
*11.*
Upon leaving Parliament for whatever reason, Parliamentarians should give up official residences and offices, official vehicles, staff (including Security) etc immediately.

We sincerely hope you will consider these recommendations seriously and take action to have them implemented as soon as possible, in order to avoid a recurrence.

Thank you.

Sincerely

VOICE OF CHANGE