Parliament | Daily News


Opposition has no backbone to take over Government – Abeygunawardena

Not a single member in the Opposition has the strength or the backbone to take over the Government and find a solution to the people’s problems, said Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Parliamentarian Rohitha Abeygunawardena in Parliament yesterday.

He also said that Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Sajith Premadasa were in one camp on January 8, 2015. He added that even today they are together and queried why they can’t take over the Government and resolve the issues.

“They can’t and they don’t have the backbone to do so. No one has the strength to do so,” said Abeygunawardena. “They are engaged in a gambling.”

He said that he thanked Finance Minister Ali Sabry, PC for revealing the correct and the stark reality of the economy of the country while being in the Government side.

He said that although there were ups and downs in the economy of the country during the last 74 years, some attempt to pass the responsibility of the failures of the corresponding period to the last two and half years, which is not correct.

“There is a protest against the Government and a new issue added to it today. That is the election of the Deputy Speaker. The issue is within the Opposition side,” he said.

He said that the Opposition has tendered two No Confidence Motions (NCMs). They should be taken up soon. But according to the Constitution, the solution to the issue should be found by the 225 in the House. “There is a proposal to establish an all party government,” MP Gunawardena said “Then there should be the Government, SJB, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and independent groups. But without joining all together, getting together the Government and the independent group in the Opposition is not fruitful as the latter was with the Government earlier,” he said.

He added that all parties should get together to find the solution. “They all have to make their views and proposals,” he said.

“The Opposition Leader says our mechanism is wrong,” MP Abeygunawardena said. “Then he has to declare that he is ready to take over the Government and collect members who support him and to form a government. But he is not ready or none is ready to do so. They are gambling and there is no law in the country. The economy is bankrupt. Those who have come on road to protest are attempting to flatten the economy further,” he said.

He said that they are doing so, by discouraging the tourists. He added that the investors are reluctant to come to the country and some are attempting to leave. “If the Opposition is supporting the protestors and expect to take over the Government, their future is hopeless,” he said.

“Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and Sajith Premadasa were in one camp on January 8, 2015. Even today they are together and why can’t they take over the Government and resolve the issues,” Abeygunawardena said. “They can’t and they don’t have the backbone to do so as well. No one has the strength to do so,” he said.

“I heard someone say that there are people outside,” Abeygunawardena said. “But it is not constitutional as the President has power to dissolve Parliament only next year,” he said.

“However, the next government, too, would have to take the burden of the loan as well. Then the people would stand against that government, too. Then they would need to chase the next government, too. “This would make a worse precedent,” Abeygunawardena said. “There is a law in the country and we have to follow it,” he said.


Tense situation over voting to select Deputy Speaker

A tense situation arose in the House when the Speaker announced that the MPs had to indicate the name of the preferred candidate and placed their signatures at the bottom of the voting form during the vote to select a Deputy Speaker. Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella argued that by requesting the MPs to sign their voting form would not protect their anonymity and secrecy in voting.

However, the Speaker insisted that the Standing Orders cannot be changed.

Amidst an uproar in the House, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that the Speaker has the authority to suspend the Standing Orders and allow the MPs to vote safeguarding their anonymity.

“There are many government faction MPs who need to vote in our favour. Hence, if they have to sign their vote, that would create a problem,” the Opposition Leader said.

However, the Speaker insisted that the Parliamentarians act in accordance with the rules of the House.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said that this was the same manner that the vote was conducted in 2015 and added that the Opposition is unaware of the parliamentary voting mechanism and neither are they aware of what is happening in Parliament.

Addressing Parliament following his election to the Deputy Speaker Ranjith Siyambalapitiya explaining the reasons for his resigning from the post, said that it was to make the Government to see and realise the sufferings of the people and to highlight the demands that they were making.

“That is why the group that decided to be independent made the decision to make the Government feel what the people were going through. However, my name was chosen again by the Government faction. However, I am saddened that the Opposition failed to make use of this situation and I see it as a betrayal the people who are protesting on the streets.”

However, the Opposition Leader said that the actions of many were revealed in Parliament yesterday. He said that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) changed their stance with the revelation that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was going to support Siyambalapitiya.

“Today their deception was exposed to this Parliament and the people. Today Siyambalapitiya became a henchman of the Government. The blatant deception is very clear today. In this House all political games are played out,” he added.

Meanwhile, Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena extended the Government’s congratulations to the newly elected Deputy Speaker. He said that there is victory and defeat in any situation and one must learn to accept them.


SJB cannot set up a government with 67 seats – Independent MPs

The Independent Parliamentarians who sat with the Opposition said in Parliament yesterday that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) cannot establish a government with 67 seats.

They demanded that they must know whether the SJB would take over the Government or whether they had a plan and mechanism to overcome the issues in the country if they voted with the No Confidence Motions (NCMs).

They warned the SJB not to mislead the people and said that although the SJB think they had peoples’ support, it is a myth.

They said so when SJB Parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna demanded to summon sittings next week as well and take up the No Confidence Motions against the Government side as there is no political stability in the country.

Independent MP Jagath Pushpakumara queried if the SJB would take over the Government if they voted with the NCM by the SJB. He said that they could not do it with 67 seats and added that the SJB does not have support of the people although they thought so. He demanded the SJB not to cheat the people.

Independent MP M. Muzammil said that the members had to come to Parliament over the barricades due to the protests. He said that during the last two weeks they had engaged in discussions, which ended without solutions. The Government decided to set up an interim government to which the Opposition and its leaders do not agree, he said.

“We want to know if the Opposition leader is ready to set up a government if the NCM was won or if they are ready to set up an interim government,” queried Muzammil. “But the Opposition Leader has to reveal who his mother met yesterday at Thirunadeshan’s house. He also has to reveal how he prevented the harmony that was to be built in the Opposition in the House today.”

He said that the Opposition Leader has to express clearly what is he going to do after the NCM. “We can vote for the NCM, but the Opposition Leader should reveal what he is planning to do ‘’ Muzammil said. “We can’t lead this country to anarchy. We can’t lead this country to the labyrinth of chaos. The responsibility of getting the country rid of such a catastrophe is not only in the hands of the Government but it is also of the Opposition and the Opposition Leader,” he said.

MP Rajakaruna commencing the speech said that to bring in the political stability and to build up the confidence of the people in Parliament, to summon the sittings next week and take up the No Confidence Motions.

SJB Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said that the Government has not got at least 69,000 people in the country by now. The people are awaiting the government’s departure from power. The youth in the country are on roads demanding a change. Hence, the date when the NCM is taken should be revealed, he said.

SJB MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that the election of the Deputy Speaker was done with the consent of the Speaker but it had flaws. He added that all should get together to build up the country.

SJB MP Harin Fernando said that the people are on the road engaged in protests. He said that therefore, the No Confidence Motions should not be delayed.

SJB MP Thushara Indunil said that they saw the birds of the same feather flock together.

SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara said that the Opposition agrees that there should be political stability to resolve the economic crisis. “So we have proposed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution and thereafter to abolish the Executive Presidency. They should be fulfilled to assist in building political stability,” he said.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP S. Rasamanickam said that whatever said, the MPs here would not vote for an NCM to defeat the Rajapaksa government. He added that they are acting in a drama. SJB MP Mujiber Rahuman also spoke on the occasion.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that his mother did not meet Pandora Nadeshan.


Political game in Parliament is clear with Deputy Speaker’s Election – Opposition Leader

Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa said in Parliament yesterday (05) that the political game in Parliament was clear based on the results of the election to elect a Deputy Speaker.

The Opposition Leader made these remarks after the appointment of Ranjith Siyambalapitiya of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as the Deputy Speaker, defeating Imtiaz Bakir Makar, representing the Samagi Jana Balawegaya. Premadasa said that although SJB had been decided to support Siyambalapitiya’s candidature, the decision had to be changed after learning that SLPP would also vote for him.

“Different people are trying to mislead the whole country. It was revealed to the whole country today. We changed our decision with the SLPP support for Siyambalapitiya. He became a henchman of the government. At this time it is clear to the people, clear to the struggle who is misleading them.

“What is happening in this Parliament at this time is a political game. We are clearly against the President. We are against the government,” Premadasa said.


Finance Minister should resign – Gevindu

Sri Lanka Pojujana Peramuna (SLPP) Parliamentarian Gevindu Kumaratunga yesterday levelled several stern criticisms against Finance and Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC.

He demanded that Ali Sabry, PC should immediately resign from his post as Justice Minister. “Who brought in the 20th Amendment back then? When we repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the 20th Amendment, as a President’s Counsel, who misguided the President? Who completely misguided the Parliamentarians and made them misuse their professions? It is regretful to say that it was Professor G.L. Peiris and Ali Sabry, PC who totally misguided the President and put him on a wrong track.

If they accept now that the 20th Amendment was a big mistake, and if this same Justice Minister is talking about bringing in the 21st Amendment, then is he suitable to hold that post? At the time, we received a pledge from the President that within one year, a new Amendment would be brought with our recommendations regarding the sharing of power between the President and the Prime Minister, appointing independent persons to the Commissions, and several other factors included. But, has the Justice Minister acted to do so? At least has the committee appointed under the leadership of the Justice Minister to formulate a new Constitution, presented even a set of proposals so far? Didn’t this Justice Minister act in a manner that the formulation of a new Constitution became something that would never materialise? Has he taken steps to implement clauses where no dual citizen can hold positions in the Legislature or the Executive?” he questioned.

MP Kumaratunga also said that while the one year was up in November last year, nothing that was promised had been done and the promise of ‘One Country One Law’ was also not fulfilled. “Instead, the President appointed a totally unsuitable convicted monk who has brought disrepute to the Buddhist clergy to head the One Country One Law Committee. At the time Ali Sabry, PC tendered his resignation in protest, but no sooner the President gave him greater powers and put the relevant committee headed by this monk under his command, he retracted his resignation and accepted the post with greater powers.”

He said that the two main promises made to the people by the President was to bring in a new Constitution that strengthens the unity of this country and to have one law that governs all the communities in this country.

“But it is shameful that the same person who failed to ensure this pledge was fulfilled is now talking so lightly about a 21st Amendment to the Constitution. You are the person who misguided the President and if you have any shame or even a semblance of respect for the clothes you are wearing, then please accept your mistake, apologise to the people for the wrong you have done and resign from your post as the Justice Minister,” he added.


SJB attempting to put country in to anarchy

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) that has tendered No Confidence Motions (NCMs) hasn’t declared that it was willing to take over the Government, said Sri Lanka Podujuna Peramuna (SLPP) Parliamentarian Roshan Ranasinghe in Parliament yesterday.

He also said that the SJB is attempting to put the country to anarchy.

He said that neither the Government nor the Opposition has realised what the people are demanding for. He added that Buddhists monks, the Cardinal and the Lawyers Association altogether demanded all the political parties to get together to set up an all party government to resolve the issues.

“However, the SJB has tendered NCMs but hasn’t said that they are willing to take over the Government,” said MP Ranasinghe. “They are attempting to put the country from the failures to anarchy,” the MP added. He said that if the SJB that tendered the NCMs is ready to take over the Government, even he will extend his support. He added that the SJB and the JVP do not join us, even the Government would have to present an interim budget proposal.

He also said that although the situation is worse, the Government has had to impose an additional tax to cushion the economy.

The MP said that not only the politicians, but also the high calibre businessmen, too, are engaged in the ‘deals’. He added that most of the high ranking businessmen have become rich only by public property. He added that they are attempting to be elected to Parliament as well.

He also said that he was ashamed to be a Parliamentarian. He added that the 225 in the House really understand the heartbeat of the people of the grassroots level. He also added that the issue is that they pretended not to understand it.


If people’s voice ignored, trust on Parliament would be lost – Bakeer Marker

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Imthiaz Bakeer Marker, who contested for the post of Deputy Speaker in Parliament yesterday, said that if the voice of the people is ignored, the trust placed on Parliament would be lost.

Following the election to appoint the Deputy Speaker, he made a statement in Parliament and thanked all those who had voted for him.

“I thank all those who voted for me in the Deputy Speaker election and those who did not. This House should be a centre for representing the voice of the people of our country as well as a crossroads. If we are unable to uphold the credibility of this Parliament, then it would be a problem. At a time when there is an anti-government sentiment, it is incomprehensible how this election was held. I commend all those who voted bravely and stood up for the voice of the people,” he said.


Committee on High Posts approves six new appointments

Committee on High Posts has approved the appointments of two secretaries to Ministries, one secretary to State Ministry and three ambassadors.

Two secretaries to Ministries, a secretary to State Ministry and three ambassadors received the approval of the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts yesterday (05), Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said. This approval was granted at the Committee on High Posts chaired by the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena today. Accordingly, Jayantha Michael de Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Technology, D.M.L Bandaranayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Major General (Retd.) W.P.P Fernando, Secretary to the State Ministry of Disaster Management were given this approval.

In addition, the decision of the Foreign Ministry to appoint Savitri Panabokke as the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Korea was approved by the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts. At the same time, approval was granted to appoint Ahmed Lebbe Sabarullah Khan as the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman and to appoint S.H.U Dissanayake as the new Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Dasanayake said.

Minister Vidura Wickramanayake, Members of Parliament Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Dharmalingam Siddharthan and Dr. (Mrs) Sudarshani Fernandopulle were also present at this Committee Meeting.




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