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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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Southern MP warns that Russian & Ukranian tourists working here are at risk



“They may be knifed or their lives threatened”

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourists from Russia and Ukraine who are staying in houses in Sri Lanka for long periods are engaging in business activities and should be taxed to prevent them being knifed by competitors, SLPP MP Chandima Weerakkody told parliament on Friday.

“There are many tourists who are staying long term in houses,” he said. “Though they come here they cannot use their credit cards – especially Russian and Ukrainian tourists who cannot use their money through their cards. As a result they have been forced to work and earn something in Sri Lanka.”

He called on the government to have a system where they can use their money.

“In our areas many tourists are cutting hair, some are doing tinkering work, some are setting up pizza shops, some are selling cannabis – I think there is a new name now *for ganja),” Weerakkody said. “If we send the immigration behind the tourists who are coming, even those that are coming will not come.”

“No taxes are being charged from any of these tourists who are doing business. Our (local people’s) taxes are raised. I am asking at least to have a system for the government to collect some taxes

“I want to say in Parliament that in our areas, a knifing (pihi anumak), or some other threat to life (jeewitha tharjanayak) may happen if this situation continues.”

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Kidney sale racket unearthed in Colombo



Five duped to sell their kidneys at Rs. 15 million each

By Norman Palihawadane

The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ranjindra Jayasuriya that an investigation has been launched to arrest the suspects involved in the organized racket of obtaining kidneys from poor people promising big money and selling them to local and foreign people.The CCD told the court on Thursday that four men and one woman have parted with their kidneys, and despite promising to pay Rs.15 million per kidney nothing was paid.

CCD reported to court that the victims were operated at a Hospital on Cotta Road in Borella and no money was paid. A mother who was nursing a one-and-a-half-year-old infant was among those cheated.

The police told court that a person from the Bloemendhal area had referred these people through another man and a woman. Required medical tests had been conducted at three private hospitals.

Evidence has been obtained that kidney surgeries had been performed at a private hospital in Borella and the CCD stated in court that this racket was organized targeting poor families in Colombo.

It informed court that they have already launched investigations and will arrest the suspects and produce them before court.After considering the relevant submissions, the Magistrate ordered the CCD to conduct investigations and arrest the suspects and present them to court.

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Record highest number of school students visit Parliament



School children wave during their visit to Parliament on Thursday (1). Serjeant-at Arms Narendra Fernando said that the largest number of school students in the history of the Parliament visited the Parliament on Dec 1. Over 5,000 students from 32 schools from different provinces visited the Parliament on that day, he said. More than 25,000 students representing schools in different parts of the country had visited to observe the Parliamentary debates after the Public Gallery was reopened for school students from Sept 19.

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