National Security should be prioritized - Prime Minister
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa presided when Parliament met at 1pm
yesterday. After the presentation of papers and oral questions,
Parliament took up the motion to extend the state of emergency by
another month moved by Prime Minister D M Jayaratne and the second
reading of the Registration of Deaths (Temporary Provisions) Bill.
Prime Minister D M Jayaratne: The international community accepts the
security situation in Sri Lanka in a higher standard due to sudden boost
of the tourism industry.
This situation should continue for ever and we irrespective of party,
racial and religious differences should take measures to achieve this
The Government has opened almost all roads that were closed in the
Colombo city for security reasons while the closure of roads for VIPs
have been limited. Meanwhile, the benefits of the improved security
situation be passed to the public. Priority should be given to national
security for which purpose the state of emergency should be extended.
On October 25, eight-feet-long nine Bangalore Torpidos were found
with another haul of weapons at Oddusudan in Mullaitivu.
At Pallampokkanei, five 15kg pressure bombs were found hidden in a
Government paddy store. There were many other weapons including
The Forces also found 247 130mm artillery bullets in a thicket in
There are reports that the LTTE trained Estate sector youths in
Kilinochchi and were sent to the up-country. Such two youths who
supported the transportation of explosives to the up-country were
arrested on October 23. The information about these youths was taken
from three LTTE terrorists arrested on October 19 with explosives and
bombs in their possession.
Investigations are continuing to find out explosives and weapons
hidden by LTTEers in North, Central Province, Colombo and suburbs.
I request Members of this House to vote in favour to extend the state
of emergency by another month to continue to strengthen security and
take measures to control international terrorist activities.
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe: It was reported in a
newspaper that a new building is to be added to the Parliament.
When a new building is to be added, it should be informed at the
party leaders meetings. I request a clarification about it.
When considering the Emergency Regulations, I would like to ask how
many times we have taken the Emergency Bill for debate. The picture
generated about the country today is that the people can move freely and
there is an influx of tourists into the country.
If the situation in the country is so positive, what is the need of
Emergency Regulations. They are used for the suppression of democracy.
The Government is trying to pass six important acts hastily within
three days. The time allocated for these acts is not sufficient. At
least, one day is needed to discuss one Act. The time is curtailed and
this is not fair. According to the newspaper notice published by the
Central Bank, the Government is no more taking the responsibility of the
banks under it. This is a new policy. Does the Governor try to be higher
Regarding the issue of Sarath Fonseka, we would like to know, from
whom the Speaker got consultations to answer the point of order raised
in this House. Our point is that he cannot consult the Attorney General
for this matter because he is part of the executive. The Speaker should
express his decision about Sarath Fonseka. Parliament has more power
than Supreme Court.
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa: This issue is now being taken by the
Supreme Court and there is no need to discuss it here now. The
Opposition Leader is not aware about the people whom I refer for
consultations when necessary.
Ranil Wickremesinghe: I request the Speaker to inform this House the
people whom he gets consultations.
Technology and Research Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake: A point
of order. The Opposition Leader is violating the Standing Orders by
talking about the issue of Sarath Fonseka, when the Emergency
Regulations are being debated.
Prime Minister D M Jayaratne: Since space is not sufficient in this
building, a decision has been taken to construct a new building for the
A H M Azwer (UPFA): The entire speech made by the Opposition Leader
violates the Standing Orders. He refers to the Speaker throughout his
speech. But according to Standing Orders, nobody can make references to
the Speaker. He can take any decision singularly or collectively.
Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities
Minister Wimal Weerawansa: Today, the Opposition has no slogans and the
new building is a serious matter that they have.
Jayalath Jayawardena MP, didnít you ask Minister Basil Rajapaksa on
the possibility of joining the Government? But since we refused to give
a ministerial portfolio, you did not come.
What is needed for some people like him is to move the country
backwards and reverse the development activity. We request him to stop
misleading the international community. He was making false statements
in Geneva. What he says is that there is an autocratic rule in the
country, and that there is no democracy. This should not be allowed in
the future. No MP should be allowed to betray the country and provide
harmful incentives to the international community using Parliamentary
The Opposition Leader has got a little bit of wisdom today to go
after the village community under Grama Charika without going after
foreigners. Today, the country is heading towards accelerated
socio-cultural and economic development and we dedicate for this
Deputy Speaker Priyankara Jayaratne takes the Chair.
Dayasiri Jayasekera (UNP): The Government and the country are two
Today Government MPs are talking on behalf of the Government. We talk
on behalf of the country. We should voice out if the democracy is
deprived in the country.
Today, some shout against a wheat flour terrorism. As a result, a
large number of bakeries are closed and bakery owners had to suffer.
S Sridaran: I request the Government to grant the properties of the
IDPs back to them that they owned earlier. Circulars issued to the
public servants in the North are issued in the Sinhala medium.
A H M Azwer takes the Chair.
Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Deputy Minister K A D S
Gunawardene: We know how the war was fought and ended terrorism by the
leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya
Rajapaksa, the three Forces, Civil Defence Force and Police. We have to
thank them. Peace was achieved after much effort.
Now, there is a request by police to allow them to retire after 22
years of service. Then, around 25,000 police personnel can retire. Then
25,000 youth can get employment.
Police should be given a good salary. A shed should be constructed at
the Parliament main gate for police personnel.
The UNP speaks of LTTErs. They canít remember how Buddhist monks were
murdered. They killed Tamil parents for not giving their children to the
LTTE. The LTTE killed people in 69 villages completely. Still, there are
a number of Sinhala people in the Jaffna station being unable to
resettle in their villages.
Although UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena speaks in favour of them the
Christians could not go to the Madu Church because of the LTTE.
D M Swaminathan (UNP): The Jaffna district where the majority of
Tamils are living was badly affected by the war. A number of Tamils were
displaced. They should be provided maximum facilities. Around 250
families temporarily stay at the Jaffna railway station should be given
permanent places. There are a number of vacancies to be filled in the
North. Only a few have been recruited so far. This is very injustice.
The properties occupied by Security Forces should be vacated and give
back to the people.
Anuruddha Roshan Ranasinghe (UPFA): Democracy was established by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa by eliminating terrorism in the country. But
we can not be satisfied that we are a 100 percent free nation.
There are several attempts made by nationally and internationally to
raise terrorist activities again. To control this activities, it is
necessary to extend Emergency Regulations. We crack down on underworld
activities apart from LTTE terrorism.
Wijayadasa Rajapaksa (UNP): The people should be treated equally. The
minority of the country should not feel that they are treated in
different way from the majority.
Although the Government extended Emergency Regulations, unlawful
activities take place every day. How police officers were assaulted,
when Emergency Regulations are prevailed?
It is reported that the Government has set up a special investigation
unit to examine the activities of Government Ministers and Deputy
Ministers. The Government has not denied this.
Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thera (UPFA): We do not have any ethnic
problem in the country. Tamils suffered a lot due to the war. If these
people are deprived of lands, they should be given their original places
back. It is necessary to concern the development of cultural and
economic ties among all communities.
Dr Jayalath Jayawardene (UNP): We have never brought discredit to the
country. It is our right to go before the Inter-Parliamentary Union, if
there is any injustice. The war is over today. Not only President, but
also Security Forces and their family members contributed a lot for this
Sarath Weerasekera (UPFA): Even though we defeated terrorism, threats
of terrorism are still remaining. We fought with a terrorist
organization which was not only limited to our country, but had links
with many countries in the world. Today, a transnational state of Tamil
Eelam to be established in the USA. The Chief Guest of this occasion is
the Attorney-General during the Regon administration.
Recently, an Editor of a Tamil newspaper has made a statement in
Norway that President Rajapaksa won the war, but it is Basil Rajapaksa
and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who destroy our dream of establishing a separate
We have got clear evidence regarding this. We should maintain
emergency regulations further to hinder all efforts to strengthen
terrorism within the country.
Uvais Farook (UPFA): Today, the war has come to an end and the
rehabilitation process is continuing. About 80 to 90 percent of
rehabilitation has been completed.
All ethnicities including Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities are
allowed to go back to their lands in the North and the East.
The sea is now open for the people of all ethnicities for fishing.
The agricultural sector is also reviving in those areas. The
Government is behaving strategically to avoid newer conflicts.
Ajith Kumara (DNA): We oppose the extension of emergency regulations.
The country was freed by terrorism giving relief to the people living in
However, people are deprived of enjoying this freedom. Those days,
the Government brought out terrorism to cover up the failure of the
Since terrorism is no more, newer forms of terrorism are imagined by
the Government such as wheat flour terrorism, mass media terrorism,
poster terrorism. Today, the Government has not been able to reduce the
cost of living, to solve the problems in the education sector and health
sector, to increase the salaries of the people.
Rajiva Wijesinha (UPFA): We still have the necessity to maintain
emergency regulations to avoid a situation of terrorism once again.
The need to investigate on the incident took place in the Welikada
Prison is felt strongly. This incident reminded me of a similar incident
in 1983. No proper investigation carried out regarding it. But it should
not happen in modern time.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara (UPFA): Particular Members in the Opposition
take minor issues in the country to the international platform. They try
to increase the seriousness of these issues before the international
community. If any kind of violations of human rights and democracy
happens in the country, we are against them. There are institutions from
which we can seek the help regarding them. But we oppose for building up
a false idea that there is a suppressions of students in the country. We
see that the turmoil made by JVP and IUSF in the Universities are
pronounced by JVP as anti-Governmental revolts. We oppose this activity.
Political motives should not be sought through University students.
Dinesh Gankanda (UNP): It is clear that emergency regulations are
being used by the Government to suppress the individuals and groups who
act against the Government.
The public is deprived of making a just demand. Today, a wheat flour
terrorism has been brought forward. It is due to the fact that the
Government is unable to control the wheat flour prices.
E Saravanabavan (TNA): Today, regulations are imposed to prevent
democratic rights of the people. The Tamil people are subjected to
difficulties by this State of Emergency Regulations.
Higher Education Deputy Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake: The
Opposition claimed that the State of Emergency is exploited by the
Government to suppress the Oppositionís activities. It is baseless.
We have never stopped their protests. But may be that they are hurt
by certain activities of the Government. One is that the operation
against drugs introduced to this country during UNP regime after 1978.
The other one is the eradication of underworld gangs created during the
same regime. Certain politicians are benefitted by these activities of
the underworld. So when the Government acts against them, the Opposition
Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation Minister D E W Gunasekara: One
criticism made by the Opposition is that Sarath Fonsekaís situation in
prison. There are 27,000 inmates in the prison. About 50 percent are
convicted and the rest are under remand prison.
We treat all prisoners equally. The security of the prisoners are
well taken into account. We have taken special concern on the security
of Sarath Fonseka. We have appointed a Superintendent for that purpose.
We have provided him a bed, TV and a mosquito net on the orders of the
Court. We work within law.
The Opposition Leader said even a tea is not given to him but UNP MP
Dayasiri Jayasekera said two days before that he was given a tea at the
prison. We have separated Sarath Fonseka from other prisoners.
There are reports that drugs are circulated in the prison. Thatís why
the search was initiated in 16 prisons.
The Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa takes the Chair.
Prison Reforms and Rehabilitation Minister D E W Gunasekera: This
search was conducted in Welikada prison as well. I had instructed not to
conduct this search only by Police as there were 400 convicts.
There were only 60 police officers. Thatís why such a tragic
situation was created.
Some of the Opposition claimed there was a prior plan behind this
incident. I ask you not to politicize this tragic incident. We conduct
detailed investigations in this regard.
The State of Emergency was passed with a majority of 114 votes. In
favour, 125 members voted, while 11 voted against.
Rs 30 m spent for Sugathadasa Stadium modernization
The Sugathadasa Stadium was modernized spending Rs 300 million by the
Government for the IIFA festival, Chief Government Whip and Water Supply
and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday.
The State Engineering Corporation did the modernization work. The
work included the installing a high capacity air-conditioning system for
the main pavilion, repairing the ceiling of the main pavilion, repairing
the lavatory system and the change rooms belonging to the main pavilion,
renovating the main Pavilion building, painting the interior and
exterior of the indoor stadium and installing air-conditioners to the
change rooms around the main stadium. IR, SM and DM
Action on visa extension fraud
The Government would take action against Foreign non-Governmental
organisations officials who have secured undue visa extensions for their
stay in Sri Lanka, Chief Government whip Water Supply and Drainage
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told parliament yesterday. He said it had
been revealed that officials have not scrutinized the documents and
reports on these foreigners granting visa extensions to them.
There had been malpractices and foreigners belonging to some right
groups and agencies too have secured their visa extensions to stay 5-6
years continuously here and spread rumours against the Government and
the people of Sri Lanka.
The Government has realized that this situation be corrected with
immediate effect and action has been initiated.
The Minister made these remarks in response to a question raised by
OPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe. IR, SM and DM
Rs 216 m recovered on substandard drugs
Health Deputy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Parliament yesterday
that the State Pharmaceutical Corporation has recovered Rs 216 million
from the companies that imported substandard drugs for Government
Hospitals during 2006 and 2010.
He made these observations in response to a question raised by UNP MP
The Deputy Minister said the Government suffered a total loss of Rs
238,792,226 during this period as a result of this. The Government
recovered Rs 216,113,415 from those companies.
Amaraweera said the Government is taking measures to recover the rest
The Deputy Minister said 19,000 metric tons of substandard drugs have
been destroyed by the HOLCIM and Rs 2,230,825 has been paid for them.
Health Minister Maithreepala Sirisena stated that although drugs are
imported on the approval of the tender board, certain companies produce
good quality drugs before the tender board and later import substandard
drugs. The Minister added that when such incidents occur the licences of
those companies are cancelled. IR, SM and DM
Gaming Bill today
Parliament will take up the Bill titled Gaming (Special provisions)
Bill for debate today.
It was decided to take the Bill for debate by the party Leader who
met on the Parliamentary complex last evening. The Bill caused for many
controversies due to objections from social groups and political parties
belonging to the Government and Opposition. IR, SM and DM
N-E religious places registered
About 3,131 Kovils have been registered in the North and East
Provinces as of today, said Chief Government whip and Water Supply and
Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament yesterday.
He said 79 buddhist temples and 578 mosques are also registered
within these two provinces. He said Christian religious places are not
There are about 66 Buddhist Chief Incumbents and about 3,000 Hindu
dignitaries and 524 Muslim priests in those areas. IR, SM and DM
Supplementary estimate to get Rs 15 billion
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance Minister
submitted a motion seeking approval of Parliament for a supplementary
estimate to obtain Rs 15 billion to meet the expenses of Budgetary
support services and contingent liability project of the National Budget
Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh
Gunawardena moved the motion on behalf of the President. It had been
observed that the Budgetary provisions approval for certain Ministries
for 2010 are not being utilized as anticipated due to constraints in
implementation and other practical reasons, thereby a saving would be
anticipated, the motion signed by the President said.
There is a possibility of saving of provisions of Rs 15 billion
including Rs one billion from recurrent expenditure and Rs 14 billion
from capital expenditure without exceeding the maximum expenditure
limits already approved by Parliament.
This supplementary estimate is thereby submitted to Parliament to
provide such savings for the additional provisions required to expedite
the major infrastructure projects such as Hambantota Port Development
Project, Southern Highway Project, Northern Road Development Project,
Ampara Water Supply Project, Rural Electrification Project, Colombo City
Electricity Transmitting and Distribution Project, Provincial
Infrastructure Development Project, Provincial Road Development,
Northern Roads Connectivity Project, widening Courts activities,
strengthening of public security and for settlement of the overdue
payments for certain services obtained by the Government. IR, SM and DM