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39 SJB parliamentarians write to Speaker stating their grievances 

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A group of SJB MPs have written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena alleging that he has been acting in a partial manner and ignoring requests made by Opposition MPs.

“We have noticed many times that you have been deliberately ignoring the Opposition MPs whenever they oppose a motion. MPs of our party are affected by your partiality.” the letter signed by 39 SJB lawmakers said.

They said that the Speaker had ignored a request from Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella for a division at the end of the debate on the 20th Amendment.

They also cited the case of the Speaker allowing SLPP MP Premalal Jayasekera, who has been convicted of murder, to attend Parliament, but refusing to grant the same right to SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake.

“You have also continuously curtailed the right of the Opposition Leader to raise supplementary questions whenever he raised questions under Standing Order 27(2). We wonder whether these actions of yours will tarnish the image of Parliament. We understand that you are engaged in SLPP politics. The Speaker who is the leader of all 225 MPs in the House is expected to safeguard the dignity of the post.”

The MPs said the Opposition backed Abeywardena appointment to the post as they trusted him to be a man of high repute and respect.

“We backed you as you were a well-respected member of the UNP in the past. It was SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandana, who seconded your name as the Speaker. We still hope that you will act towards becoming one of the greatest speakers in Sri Lanka and you will go down in history with such a reputation.”

 

 



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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice

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 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB

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Protests against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are being used to arouse communal feelings among people ahead of an election, says the main Opposition SJB.

Addressing the media on Saturday, at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip, SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said:

“This country has witnessed many instances in the past. This time, too, the same old slogan of the country being divided is heard again.

“The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution. All parties have contested elections under the 13th Amendment. The UNP, SLFP, SLPP and JVP have contested provincial council elections. It shows that they have accepted the 13th Amendment. Those in such parties now opposing the 13th Amendment must first explain how they oppose it directly while accepting the same indirectly by sending their members to the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment,” Kiriella said.

“The claim of the country being divided by the 13th amendment is made to arouse the communal feelings.

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