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Parliament

Wage increment issue will be brought to FM’s attention – Gayantha

Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister and Chief Government Whip Gayantha Karunathilake said his ministry does not have the legal authority to instruct the heads of semi-government institutions to implement the wage increments in accordance with state sector institutions, but he will bring the matter to the attention of the Finance Minister shortly.

He was responding to a question by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament yesterday, regarding the salary increments to private sector employees in accordance with the Rs. 2,500 increment granted to state sector employees.

“According to the Minimum Wage Act introduced by our government in 2016, it is mandatory for the private sector to adhere to the minimum wage of Rs. 10,000. I would like to notify this House that measures have been taken to increase this minimum wage by another Rs. 2,500, and I obtained Cabinet approval for this on April 30, 2019. To revise this act, steps are taken now at the Legal Draftsman’s Office. With the Rs. 1,000 allowance granted by the 2005 budget concessions and the 2,500 allowance granted by the 2016 budget, the minimum wage of a private sector employee now has increased to Rs. 16,000 per month.”

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, raising a question under standing orders 27/2, said that although state sector employees were granted Rs. 2,500 increment by the 2019 budget, semi-government institutions such as the corporations, statutory boards and authorities have not received this increment which is a grave injustice.

He questioned the government why the increment was not accorded to them.

“Every previous government had taken measures to provide all salary increments granted to government institutions to the semi-government corporations, statutory boards and authorities as well. During our government, we also ensured that the private sector employees too received some increment through the discussions of the Finance Minister and Labour Minister with the private sector. However, it is sad to note that the government has not even thought of such a discussion to grant the private sector an increment. We, therefore, urge the government to address the wage increment issue of the private sector,” he said.

The Opposition Leader spoke on the wage increment to the estate sector and accused the government of hoodwinking the estate population over the past four and half years promising to increase their daily wage to Rs. 1000. “According to Central Bank reports, the workers’ basic salaries have dropped. We urge the government to take measures to grant the Rs. 2,500 monthly allowance to the semi-state institutions and also take steps to increase the daily wage of the estate sector.”

Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said that there is a collective agreement in force between the landlords and the unions. He said it was signed in 2019 and is effective until 2021. “According to this collective agreement, the daily wage of the estate workers stands at Rs. 700 and in addition, a fixed price share supplement of Rs. 50 is paid. In addition to the stipulated weight of tea leaves they plucked, they are paid Rs. 40 for every additional kilo of tea leaves they pluck.”

Minister Karunathilake responded on behalf of the Non Cabinet Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations Ravindra Samaraweera.


Speaker accepts Arjuna’s request over Thilanga’s allegations

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday announced that he would direct the Secretary General of Parliament to look into Minister Arjuna Ranatunga’s request not to include in Hansard the allegations levelled against him by national list MP Thilanga Sumathipala on Wednesday if the latter does not have documents to prove the allegations.

The Speaker said so when Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga making a personal explanation on the statement made by MP Sumathipala on Wednesday and requested to remove the allegations made in Parliament under the parliamentary privileges. He said that those Hansard reports with allegations are later misused outside.

Minister Ranatunga also challenged MP Sumathipala to make the same allegations outside Parliament so that he could challenge them before Court.

Minister Ranatunga said he had not made any complaint against Anjelo Mathews or any other cricketer.

He said the national list MP and former Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman stated that he made a complaint against Anjelo Mathews with Pramodya Wickramasinghe and deprived of his captaincy which is baseless. He denied it and said such a complaint cannot be made before the CID or the FCID but at the Anti Corruption Unit of the International Cricket Council.

He said he could recall the period when the matches were held between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. He added that those days Sri Lanka’s possibility of winning was 80 percent. It was reported bookie owners earned a lot of money those days. A report has been submitted to the Executive Officer by the then Manager and anybody could see the allegations in the report if they need.

He said the allegations were levelled against him too on match fixing, but he had already denied them several times.


Condolence motions on three members

‘Mansoor – Veteran politician’

Chief Government Whip and Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilake moved the Condolence Motion on the late Parliamentarian A.R. Mansoor from Ampara District, who passed away on July 25, 2017.

Born on May 30, 1933 in Kalmunai, he received his education from the Kalmunai Government Muslim Boys School and later from the Saint Joseph’s College. He later became a lawyer and married Sohora Kariyappar. He was father of three children.

A veteran politician of the east, A. R. Mansoor passed away at 86 having represented the people of Kalmunai and rendering a great service to them for over 16 years, Minister Karunathileke said.

“He commenced his political career in 1966 at the Provincial Council elections and contested the general elections in 1970. However, we could not win that election, but in 1977 he won the election and obtained a seat in Parliament. He rendered a great service to the people of the Kalmunai electorate and also served as the Commerce and Shipping Minister from 1989 to 1994.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, “He was a lawyer far more senior to me. I got to know him when he became the UNP organiser for Kalmunai when I was the organiser for Kelaniya and then Biyagama. We got resounding victories at the 1977 general election and came to Parliament thereafter.

Our friendship lasted through those years, while we were members of that government. If not for Mansoor, Kalmunai would not have developed to what it is today as it was a small town at the time. He had a difficult task when the 1983 ethnic conflict spread to the north and east. However, he held that area and did not allow the interruption of work in any terrorist activity.”

City Planning and Water Supply and Higher Education Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader Rauff Hakeem said Mansoor, in his long and unblemished political career spanning two decades, contributed greatly to the socio-economic well-being of the people of the Kalmunai electorate whom he represented. He was admired and respected not only by the Muslims but also by the Sinhalese and Tamils.

“In 1985, there was a serious riot between the Tamils and the Muslims where several shops in Kalmunai of the Muslims were burnt, including a petrol shed of Mansoor’s brother. Even Ashraf’s house was burnt down. That was the time Mansoor served his constituency and this Parliament. Many were the challenges he had to face.

Then the Indo-Lanka accord came where the Muslim community felt they had been betrayed because that paved the way for the temporary merger of the north and east. The Muslims were angered by the reduction of power and this was directed towards the members of parliament who represented them.”

He said that all must give credit to those who served at a beleaguered time when those like Mansoor had to serve irrespective of whatever their political ideologies.


Condolence motions on three members

‘Samaranayake rendered great service to Bandaragama’

The Condolence Motion on Kalutara District UNP Parliamentarian Raja Samaranayake, who passed away on February 26, was moved by Chief Government Whip and Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilake in Parliament yesterday.

Minister Karunathilake said Parliamentarian Samaranayake was born on July 25, 1936 and died at 83.

He said Samaranayake’s parents were S. T. P. Samaranayake and Nanny Samaranayake. He had two other brothers as well.

Minister Karunathilake said Samaranayake received education from the Holly Cross College in Kautara and entered the Law College in 1960 and took oaths in 1966. He was appointed a President’s Counsel in 2017.

He married Lalitha Jayawardena in 1964 and was appointed UNP Bandaragama organiser in 1972 and was elected to Parliament in 1977.

Minister Karunathilake said Smaranayake was re-elected to Parliament and was appointed Science Affairs Deputy Minister in the J. R. Jayewardena’s government. He was re-elected in 1989 and was appointed Trade State Minister of the R. Premadasa government. He was appointed Export Development Minister in 1990.

Minister Karunathilake said Parliamentarian Samaranayake developed the Bandaragama small school and it is a national college today.

He provided electricity to Bandaragama, initiated small industries there, provided employments to unemployed persons and developed roads in the area.

He had addressed in the UN council in 1980 and participated in a Common Wealth Session as well. After representing the people of Bandaragama for 16 years, he passed away on February 26.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, Non Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera, MPs Rauff Hakeem, Chamal Rajapaksa, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Mahinda Amaraweera, DV Chanaka, Thenuka Vidanapathirana, Shantha Bandara, Ramesh Pathirana, Vidura Wickramanayake and others joined the condolence motion.


Condolence motions on three members

‘Indika’s service to Hambantota indelible’

The Condolence Motion on the late Hambantota Parliamentarian V. K. Indika, who passed away on July 6, 2018, was moved by Chief Government Whip and Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilake in Parliament yesterday.

The Minister said the late Parliamentarian had rendered a great service while he was a minister in the Southern Provincial Council and as an MP, he worked hard to develop schools, roads and hospital facilities and temples in the area.

Minister Karunathilake said Indika was born on July 31, 1966 to W. K. Darmasena and Srimathie Mangalika de Silva. His father was the Deputy Chairman of the Southern Provincial Council and his brother was a chairman of Ambalanthota Provincial Council.

He received his studies from the St. Mary’s Convent in Matara and from Richmond College in Galle. He obtained his tertiary education in Russia.

He married Chamika Hettiwatta and they had a son and daughter - Kavitha Hansada and Leshani Layathmi.

He was elected to the Southern Provincial Council in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2009 from the SLFP. He was elected to Parliament in 2010 from Hambantota under the SLFP and remained as an MP until August 2015.

Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, MPs Rauff Hakeem, Chamal Rajapaksa, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Mahinda Amaraweera, DV Chanaka, Thenuka Vidanapathirana, Shantha Bandara, Ramesh Pathirana, Vidura Wickramanayake among others joined the motion.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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