"In a significant legislative development, the proposed independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is poised to wield unprecedented authority, including the recommendation of unseating Members of Parliament found guilty of serious misconduct, according to Justice, Prison Affairs, and Constitutional Reforms Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. In alignment with President Ranil Wickresmesinghe's vision of establishing a code of conduct for Parliamentarians, a preliminary draft has garnered Cabinet approval, paving the way for a crucial review by the Speaker and all Party Leaders.

Minister Rajapakshe revealed that this newly envisaged entity, endowed with semi-judicial powers, will be helmed by a retired Supreme Court judge, ensuring its independence from political influence. Addressing the current legislative gap, he emphasized that there is presently no legal framework to mete out punishments for MPs found guilty of corruption, fraud, and theft, with existing penalties limited to brief suspensions from Parliamentary sessions.

Under the proposed Act, a transparent document detailing the financial expenditures of Members of Parliament will be established, allowing public scrutiny. Minister Rajapakshe highlighted that the Legal Draftsman's department is actively working on the draft for the authority's establishment. President Ranil Wickresmesinghe has appointed a committee, chaired by former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, to provide insights into the creation of this pivotal authority.

The envisaged authority will possess the jurisdiction to determine and review remuneration, allowances, and facilities for MPs. It will monitor the conduct of MPs and institute disciplinary actions based on investigations conducted by the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges, subject to final Parliamentary approval. This move aligns with international norms, as most countries implement monitoring mechanisms to ensure adherence to a code of conduct for their Members of Parliament."

"In a pivotal decision sanctioned by the Cabinet of Ministers, underscored last Monday, the emphasis is placed on upholding accountability, credibility, transparency, and professionalism among Members of Parliament. Recognizing that these factors play a critical role in bolstering public confidence in the efficacy, transparency, and fairness of the Legislature, the decision highlights the imperative for MPs to consistently exercise their powers, privileges, and duties with unwavering fidelity and honesty. This commitment to ethical conduct seeks to fortify the pillars of democratic governance, ensuring that elected representatives operate with integrity and uphold the trust placed in them by the public."

"In conclusion, the recent decision approved by the Cabinet of Ministers stands as a pivotal move towards reinforcing the principles of accountability, credibility, transparency, and professionalism within the realm of parliamentary proceedings. The acknowledgment that these qualities are integral to fostering public confidence in the effectiveness, transparency, and fairness of the Legislature reflects a commitment to the foundational tenets of democratic governance. The call for Members of Parliament to consistently wield their powers, privileges, and duties with unwavering fidelity and honesty underscores a collective dedication to ethical conduct. This commitment not only strengthens the integrity of individual representatives but also serves to enhance the overall trust and faith of the public in the democratic processes at play within the Legislature."