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Law needed to stop parliament boycott culture: TIB

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Sunday recommended enacting a law incorporating the provision to stop the culture of Parliament boycotting by any political party or a political alliance with a view to making Parliament an effective one.

The recommendation was made at a report of the TIB titled “Parliament Watch” from eight to fifteenth sessions of Ninth Parliament. The report was disclosed through a press conference at BRAC Centre INN on Sunday morning.

The TIB recommendations also include introducing referendum to take important decision on national issues, giving final approval to the Code of Conduct for Lawmakers Bill 2010 with necessary measure to consider it in the House.

The other recommendations also include restoration of provision to discuss all national issues and agreements in Parliament, refraining lawmakers to use un-parliamentarian words in the House and reducing the time limit of being absent from Parliament from 90 to 30 consecutive days and making parliamentary standing committees more effective.

The TIB report shows that the economic value of absence of a lawmaker from the Parliament session is Tk 3,558 meaning that the lawmakers of the opposition BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) received Tk 4.01 crore as remunerations and allowances over the first four years despite they boycotted the sessions.

According to the report, carried out by three TIB researchers — Morsheda Akkter, Fatema Afroj and Juliet Rossette — the opposition lawmakers boycotted Parliament sessions for 282 out of 337 working days since the start of the Ninth Parliament.

Out of 163 working days during the eighth sessions, the report shows that the lawmakers of the main opposition BNP boycotted the House for 153 days.

The report was prepared based on the eighth to 15th sessions of Parliament during two years from January 2011 to December 2012.

It also revealed the opposition leader Khaleda Zia attended the House for three days during the eight sessions of Parliament while she joined the sessions only for eight days from the first session of Parliament.

TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman while addressing the press conference expressed his concern over the increasing trend of boycott culture in Parliament.

“The ill-competition of boycotting of Parliament sessions turned into an alarming position. It should be stopped by enacting law. There is no alternative to it,” he added.

Iftekharuzzaman also termed the Parliament boycott culture in the country unprecedented and embarrassing. On the other hand, he said it reflects a sheer disrespect to the mandate of the people.

He suggested the lawmakers to practice walkout system repeatedly, if necessary, instead of boycotting the session for a long.

The TIB executive further said despite the repeated rulings by the Speaker the use of un-parliamentary words continued.

Replying to a question, he said they hope that both the ruling and opposition benches could discuss the TIB formula given earlier in the House to resolve the ongoing political impasses since what he claimed that there are ingredients to be accepted by both the sides.

The TIB report shows that the quorum crisis between eighth and 15th sessions of the parliament caused wastage of Tk 33.86 crore while 24 minutes and 27 seconds on average on every working day was wastage due to the quorum crisis.

The opposition BNP has already given a green signal to join the forthcoming budget session beginning Monday. They were absent from the House for 83 days on an average.

Earlier, the TIB published two more reports on parliament watch in July 2009 and June 2011.

Source: The Independent

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