Sat. Sep 19th, 2020

Public will never be fooled again – Weerawansa

The public will never be fooled again by the same old slogans by the Opposition to discredit the Government, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday in Parliament.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the Opposition, without learning a lesson from their defeat in the general election, is using the same slogans they used against then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government prior to 2015.

“These vindictive slogans misled the public and in 2015, a political change took place. The public suffered enough from their choice. They shall never be hoodwinked by these slogans again. The MPs in the Opposition should look into the reasons why they lost. Instead, they have gone back to their old ways. All political parties including the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) lost the majority of their vote base in the last General Election. They are politically bankrupt. During the previous tenure, the local economy collapsed and local entrepreneurs incurred losses,” Weerawansa said.

Minister Weerawansa aid that if the Yahapalana government was in power during the COVID-19 pandemic, the plight of Sri Lanka would have been worse than India. “Those were the ones who laughed and made jokes about the Easter Sunday terror attack.

Had they been in power during the pandemic, they would have asked if the USA and India are greatly hit by the pandemic, could Sri Lanka become an exception. Contrary to this notion, we have proven that we managed the situation well. Now the United Nations has made a video on how Sri Lanka curtailed the pandemic from spreading. Sri Lanka is one country that records the lowest death rates in the pandemic. At the rate the Yahapalana government was going, it is a wonder how the country is left even at this status.”

Deaths, crimes will be investigated properly – Johnston

The suspicious deaths and other crimes would be properly investigated by the Government, not like the previous good governance government did that let four hundred people be killed and faced the people with smiling faces, Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said.

Minister Fernando made this observation when Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Nalin Bandara said that the security of the country is at stake and the Island journalist Zacky Jabaar was found murdered and a body of another was found near Parliament. Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said that he was not putting the responsibility of the crimes on the Government, but the security of the country is at a stake.

Kurunegala District SJB MP Nalin Bandara told Parliament yesterday that Jabaar had been found dead in his house in Pelawatte, and a person had been found hacked to death near Parliament. These deaths seem to be mysterious, and the Government should conduct proper investigations into them.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that the Government should make inquiries and respond to the Opposition MP’s request.

Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Government is aware of its responsibilities, and it would investigate the crimes properly.

“Our Government ensures the security of not only people but also of Parliament,” Minister Fernando said. “We would not be like the Good Governance Government, which waited to see hundreds of people perish in the Easter Sunday terror attacks,” he said.

 

Over 31,880 migrant workers stranded abroad repatriated – Minister Siripala de Silva

The Government has repatriated 31,880 migrant workers stuck in foreign countries in the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Employment Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva informed the House yesterday.

Minister De Silva said that the Government has launched a comprehensive plan to repatriate migrant workers who are awaiting to return to their homeland. He said that the Government is addressing the issues regarding the migrant workers with due sensitivity and empathy.

Minister De Silva was speaking in the adjournment motion moved by the Opposition yesterday evening. The motion was moved by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) National List MP Imthiyas Bakir Makar. Bakir Makar was speaking in Parliament for the first time upon election after 16 years. The adjournment motion urged the Government to repatriate the migrant workers numbering 45,000-50,000 awaiting rescue. Seconding the motion, MP Mano Ganesan said that the Government cannot fully celebrate its defeat over the pandemic if the migrant workers are not repatriated.

 

Ranil was strengthened by 19 A, not country – Mahindananda

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was brought forth by the Yahapalana government with the ulterior motive to strengthen the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said yesterday (10). “With the amendments, Yahapalana government also attempted to bring limitations to stop the Rajapaksas from coming back to power,” Aluthgamage said.

Aluthgamage said that contrary to the opinions of civil activists, the Yahapalana government brought in the 19th Amendment not to strengthen democracy or to make judiciary independent but to strengthen Ranil Wickremesinghe and “fill the pockets of the supporters of Wickremesinghe.” Aluthgamage added, “The Yahapalana government, instead of strengthening the judiciary, attempted to influence it by using politicians like Ranjan Ramanayake,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage made was opening the debate on six notifications under the Ports and Airport Development Levy Act, three regulations and six resolutions under the Customs Ordinance that were presented to the House.

Minister Aluthgamage, in reply to Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) queries, assured that the Government has a clear 2/3 majority. “Don’t ask whether the Government is in short of two or three heads to complete a two-third. Instead, the Opposition better expect about an addition of about 15 heads. Just wait and see how the ‘Telephone wires’ come off. Former government had to throw away bags full of money to maintain a simple majority in the House,” he said.

Minister Aluthgamage suggested the MPs in the Opposition to get together and review why they suffered a serious defeat in the last General Election. The United National Party (UNP) that once ruled the political arena ended up not securing a single seat in Parliament other than the national list position, he said. The SJB did not secure the number of votes it expected, Aluthgamage said. Same was the treatment given by the people to Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and all such forces that supported the Yahapalana government, he said. During Aluthgamage’s speech several Opposition MPs pointed out that he was not speaking to the topic. When MP Mujibar Rahuman attempted to raise the same point, Aluthgamage said, “Who went to Kanjipani’s party? Those who had parties with Kanjipani are terrified now. Such people spoke with us concerning these matters.”

Aluthgamage said that if the first eight months of the SLPP Government and the Yahapalana government are to be compared, it would reveal how advanced the SLPP Government is and how many promises it has fulfilled.

 

Economy will revive under new Government – Ajith Nivard Cabraal

The economy which was declined continuously during the last five years breaking the growth momentum in the nine years of Mahinda Rajapaksa Government will revive under the new Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government with its policies, Money, Capital Markets and State Enterprises Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said in Parliament yesterday.

He was speaking in the debate on six notifications under the Ports and Airport Development Levy Act, three regulations and six resolutions under the Customs Ordinance presented to the House on Wednesday.

He said that the Opposition members might be thinking that this Government would not be able revive the destruction that they caused to the economy during the last five years of the Good Governance government.

He said that the economy declined during the last five years which had never seen before due to the inconsistent policies. The economy was affected with the Easter Sunday attack and later it was worsened by the COVID 19 pandemic. Such an economy was inherited by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last November. We have to revive the economy, face the COVID 19 challenge and to re-instill the confidence.

 

Next Government will not have any burning issues to resolve – Kanchana

The Government will resolve the burning issues of the people including the drinking water issue within the five year tenure and will not hand them down to the next government, Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish and Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multi-day Fishing Activities and Fish Exports State Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said.

He said that during the four and half years of rule by the previous government, they had succeeded in almost doubling the debt of the country. “During this period, the debt burden at around Rs. 7,391 billion had increased to Rs. 14,000 billion. Had they ruled for another six months, they would have definitely doubled the debts of the country. Not just that, under their rule, the economic development rate which was at around 6 per cent among the highest in South Asia, was brought down to among the lowest in South Asia, even below Afghanistan. Even the taxes were increased by 100 per cent,” he said.

Wijesekara said that according to the Central Bank report, over 200,000 jobs had been cut from the job market during the tenure of the previous government.

Wijesekara said that it is shameful for Manusha Nanayakkara to raise this drinking water issue as he was an MP during this decade and a member of that government during this time, but had done nothing to resolve this issue. “You raise the issue of the drinking water crisis in Galle today, but you were a member of Parliament representing the government during this period but did nothing to resolve the issue. You should be ashamed of yourself. You know very well what decisions the Rajapaksa government made in 2014 to resolve the water crisis in Galle. Through the Deyata Kirula, they planned to resolve the drinking water crisis in the Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts. Yet, after the good governance regime came to power, it was your government that stopped this project. Your government, including Mangala Samaraweera decided that this project was not required,” he said.

 

Palali Airstrip lands will not be released – Sarath Weerasekara

Provincial Councils and Local Government State Minister Rear Admiral (Rtd) Sarath Weerasekara said in Parliament yesterday that as long as there are MPs who promote separatism, the lands surrounding the Palali Airstrip land will not be released as national security is a vital aspect of the country’s economy.

Weerasekara in response to the speech made in Parliament on Wednesday by MP Wigneswaran said that the latter works towards a separatist agenda and never fails to speak in contempt of the Sinhalese and Buddhist monks. “He believes in the Gobel’s Theory where a lie spoken repeatedly is eventually taken for the truth. That is why he keeps repeating these lies in this august assembly.”

He said that despite Wigneswaran’s claims that the military still occupies vast lands of the Tamils, the Government had returned over 90 per cent of the lands occupied by the military. He said that what Wigneswaran is asking for is the land on the landing path in Palali. But, he said, that these are grounds of tactical importance and especially as long as such MP’s promote separatism, these lands will never be returned as they are a significant component of national security, which also has great significance in the country’s economy.

He also joined the debate on the six notifications under the Ports and Airport Development Levy Act, three regulations and six resolutions under the Customs Ordinance presented to the House and said that because of steps taken to lower the bank interest paid in respect of special deposits to a level of 4 per cent, the facilitation of the flow of funds into the hands of entrepreneurs became easy. This step taken by the Central Bank is a positive contribution to prevent downfall of the economy at a time when we are facing a precarious situation.

“I do not wish to treat or consider the Central Bank report as a post mortem, but I consider it as a blood report or a medical report whereas to use the indications in such a report for correcting the deficiencies shown and as a basis of considering remedial measures that we should take.”

 

Women’s household chores never given due value – Dr. Harini Amarasooriya

National People’s Power (NPP) National List MP Dr. Harini Amarasooriya yesterday said that the economic principles of Sri Lanka have never given a value to the household chores done by women, which never get calculated by the GDP of the country.

Dr. Amarasooriya said that female domestic workers employed in the Middle East make a major contribution to the economy even though they never get the recognition they deserve from the country.

Making the maiden speech in Parliament, Dr. Amarasooriya said that every woman plays a significant role in her home such as preparing food, caring for children, elderly, sick, people with special needs, and so on. “Whether they get paid or not, this work is done without pay, and society considers it the role and the responsibility of women. Although some women do this work as a job, it is unrecognised, unregulated and often not covered by any labour legislation. But if this work is not done, the economy cannot survive,” she said.

“I will explain this further. Unpaid work of women is never included in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There is no economic data regarding that either. But just imagine, if all the women in this country refused to do these works for a week, do you think that the economy could go further? Even the MPs would not be able to come to Parliament,” Amarasooriya said.

 

Country should prepare for its worse budget deficit – Eran

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Eran Wickramaratne warned in Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka should prepare for its worse budget deficit in 35 years and the situation is a result of policy errors of the Government.

“It is fully expected for expenditure to increase during a health crisis to support health expenditure and to support livelihood – but that is not what has happened. During this period there has been a reduction in Capital expenditure. The crisis has occurred due to the collapse of Government revenue. This is a policy error and the sooner it is admitted and corrected the government could get back on the right track,” MP Wickramaratne said.

He was taking part in the debate on six Notifications under the Ports and Airports Development Levy Act, three Orders under the Customs Ordinance and six Orders under the Revenue Protection Act presented to the House for approval by the Government.

He said that under the previous government, Sri Lanka achieved an improved fiscal position after several years with the budget deficit was kept at 5.3 per cent of GDP during this period.

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By Editor

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