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Backbencher contradicting PM worse than Wimal’s statement – Rahman



… seeks explanation from SLPP

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Mujibur Rahman yesterday (17) said that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) owed an explanation how a newcomer to Parliament, Kokila Gunawardena, contradicted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s declaration that burial of Covid-19 victims would be allowed.

Colombo District MP Rahman said that they were quite perplexed how Gampaha District backbencher interpreted Premier Rajapaksa’s response to lawmaker S.M. Marikkar in Parliament on Feb. 10.

Pointing out that Premier Rajapaksa gave an assurance as the leader of the government in Parliament, lawmaker Rahman emphasized that MP Gunawardena’s action was far worse than National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa’s call to pave the way for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s entry into SLPP.

MP Rahman said the SLPP having interpreted Weerawanwa suggestion that he wanted to bring in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the expense of SLPP leader Mahinda Rajapaksa flayed him on several occasions but was strangely silent at the humiliation caused by an MP overruling the PM.

Referring to SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam’s much publicized demand to Weerawansa that he apologize to the nation for making a move against the Premier, MP Rahman challenged the ruling party to set the record straight. Lawmaker Rahman pointed out that twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa never retracted his statement as regards doing away with mandatory cremation of Covid-19 victims.

MP Rahman said that though lawmaker Gunawardena sought to misinterpret the Premier’s statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweet from Islamabad, soon after the announcement made in the Sri Lanka Parliament, appreciated Sri Lanka ending , thecontroversial policy of mandatory cremations.

SJB MP Rahman asked whether lawmaker Gunawardena had been directed by someone to contradict the PM’s statement. The MP said that they weren’t aware of any previous instance of any MP on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s side disputing a statement issued by him in or outside Parliament.

MP Rahman pointed out that Premier Rajapaksa responded to MP Marikkar amidst an intervention made by the Speaker. The MP asked whether the government was ready to face the consequences of ignoring concerns raised by several governments, in addition to the UN, over discriminatory policy. MP Rahman noted that UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo Hanaa Singer in a letter dated Nov 12, 2020, especially requested for immediate end to mandatory cremations.

Meanwhile, SJB MP Faizal Cassim (SLMC nominee) has told the party high command a group of SLMC lawmakers voted for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution on an assurance received from the SLPP the mandatory cremation policy would be done away with. Cassim said so in the presence of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem at a meeting at the party headquarters a couple of days ago.

Except Hakeem, all his members voted for the 20th Amendment. All Ceylon Makkal Congress member, too, backed the 20th Amendment in addition to SJB National List MP Diana Gamage. The SLMC parliamentary group consists of five members elected on the SJB ticket.

Contrary to assurances that action would be taken against those who voted with the government, the SLMC has requested them to make a public apology. The SLMC indicated that the party did not envisage disciplinary measures against the dissident group.

Colombo District SJM MP S.M. Marikkar early this week flayed the SLMC dissident group for trying to deceive the public by claiming they did so on an assurance received from the government. The former UNPer said that claim was unacceptable under any circumstances. Marikkar said that helping the government to enact the 20th Amendment couldn’t be justified. The group of Opposition lawmakers who voted with the government included members of the SLMC, ACMC and the SJB.



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“A comprehensive international dialogue essential to address global challenges in 2024” – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the opening speech at the ‘Berlin Global’ Dialogue today (28)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the opening speech at the ‘Berlin Global’ Dialogue in Berlin, Germany, today (28), expressed the need for a comprehensive dialogue between Western nations and China, the United States of America and China and the European Union and China, as a critical component of a robust international plan capable of addressing the global challenges anticipated in 2024.

The President also highlighted that initiatives such as the ‘Belt and Road’ have led to increased scrutiny of countries like Sri Lanka, potentially impacting the economic prospects of nations in the Global South. Nevertheless, he emphasized that Sri Lanka has a history of engaging with countries like the United States, India, and China, making such interactions a familiar and essential part of international relations.

During the subsequent round table discussion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe also expressed gratitude for the support received from India and Bangladesh in addressing Sri Lanka’s recent economic challenges.”

President Wickremesinghe underlined the contrast between advanced economies, which possess buffers and reserves to weather these shocks, and developing nations that lack such resources. He emphasized that this disparity was the starting point for the sovereign debt crisis.

The President cautioned that without immediate corrective measures, the world could be on the brink of another crisis. He acknowledged that many developing countries are burdened with substantial debt, highlighting the inadequacy of existing mechanisms like the IMF to address this new situation. He shared Sri Lanka’s experience when declaring bankruptcy, which led to a halt in foreign funding and triggered a political crisis.


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Renew firearm license for 2024 before 31st December 2023 – Ministry of Defence




The Ministry of Defence has announced that the renewal of firearm license of individuals/ institutions for the year 2024 will be carried out from 01 October 2023 to 31 December 2023 and the required details can be downloaded from the Defence Ministry’s website

Firearm license renewal for 2024 will not be carried out after 31 December 2023. It is also informed that possession of a firearm without a valid license is a punishable offense under provisions of Section 22 of the Firearms Ordinance.

Registration renewal of Private Security Firms for the year 2024/2025 will be carried out from 01.10.2023 to 31.12.2023. Any renewals made after the deadline will be subjected to a fine or legal action.

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“Unite to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048” – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Milad-Un-Nabi message urged all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048.

“Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all” he said.

The full text of the President’s message :

“My greetings to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world, observing Milad Un Nabi, being the auspicious occasion commemorating the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.

He is celebrated as the final messenger of Allah, known for profound teachings of love and peace that encompass humanity. His journey to spread the message of Islam in the challenging societal context of that time, was marked by significant trials. Even in the face of adversity, the Holy Prophet’s unwavering patience and equanimous strength served as powerful attributes. He was victorious in attaining his aspirations, through boundless sacrifices for faith and humanity.

As we celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday today, it is timely to resolve to uphold the values that were the hallmark of his life, which include mutual understanding, brotherhood, assistance to one another and fairness. Our commitment to fostering social harmony is the most meritorious tribute which could be paid to his legacy.

I urge all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path, to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048. Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all.

I wish all those of the Islamic faith, a joyous Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, filled with love, peace and prosperity!”

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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