Gold smuggling MP SLPP’s baby, says Rishad
Raheem voted with govt. on all occasions, including enactment of 20A
By Shamindra Ferdinando
All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen said that Ali Sabri Raheem was the ruling SLPP’s responsibility.
The SLPP as well as Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who accepted MP Raheem as a leader of a political party should deal with Puttalam District MP Raheem, the ACMC leader said.
An apparently irritated Vanni District MP said so when The Island asked him whether as the leader of that party that fielded Raheem on the Muslim National Alliance (MNA) ticket at the last general election he would initiate disciplinary action against the first time entrant to the parliament.
Except for Puttalam, the ACMC contested other areas at the August 2020 general election on the SJB ticket.
Lawmaker Bathiudeen alleged that soon after being elected to parliament MP Raheem switched his allegiance to the SLPP. In spite of specific directive to all members of their grouping not to throw their weight behind the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, MP Raheem voted with the SLPP on all occasions, MP Bathiudeen said. The Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration enacted the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in Oct 2020.
At one point MP Raheem declared himself as the leader of the MNA, MP Bathiudeen said, alleging that he was among the favoured. “MP Raheem voted with the SLPP throughout this period,” the former SLMC MP said. Bathiudeen represented the SLMC in parliament before he formed the ACMC.
Gampaha District SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna on Tuesday (23) told parliament that MP Raheem should be dealt with appropriately. Such incidents prompted the public to point finger at all 225 members of parliament, MP Rajakaruna said, warning of dire consequences unless the MP was punished.
SLFP leader and former President Maithripala Sirisena called for the harshest possible action against the MP while endorsing the views expressed by the SJB MP.
The Customs apprehended the MP after he tried to walk through the VIP channel after having arrived from Dubai aboard a flydubai FZ 547 flight on Tuesday morning.
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka meets with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament & Secretary-General of Parliament
Michael Appelton, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka, accompanied by Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner, met with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle MP, and Secretary-General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, recently.
During the meeting, the Ambassador emphasized that gender equality in politics is vital for the achievement of peaceful societies, the realization of full human potential, and sustainable development. He also stated that they have taken several initiatives to ensure equal women’s participation in the New Zealand Parliament.
Dr. Fernandopulle, MP, shared her concerns regarding the lack of gender sensitivity in Sri Lankan politics. She drew attention to the urgent need for a more inclusive political framework that ensures equal representation and participation for women.
The Secretary-General of Parliament affirmed that Parliament has taken actions to increase youth and women’s representation in committees and is currently working on improving disability access to Parliament.
Climate Change University to be launched next year
At the briefing on the progress of Climate Change and Green Growth held on Wednesday (31) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and officials of the Climate Change Secretariat led by President’s Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene it was revealed that the Climate Change University would be launched next year and that the University Grants Commission had identified approximately 130 scientists who have gained international recognition for their research on climate change who, together with their international affiliations would be brought together as part of the initiative.
President Wickremesinghe expressing his perspective on the International Climate Change University, emphasized that it should be a post-graduate institution solely focused on research which does not offer undergraduate courses. Any country or organization that contributes to the university becomes a stakeholder and gains membership on the Board of Governance. The Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in partnering with the university and negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Korea Exim Bank, led by the External Resource Department have concluded successfully. The President said that prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT have also expressed interest in collaboration.
The discussions also revolved around inviting a group of international experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for July/August to engage in policy conversations, addressing global issues, and exploring potential research projects that could be derived from these policy dialogues.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that all future research in the field of climate change should be conducted at this institution.
IUSF threatens showdown
By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon
The university system is facing a grave crisis as around 40 percent of the lecturers have left the state education system, says the Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Madushan Chandrajith.
Chandrajith said the ‘exodus’ of top academics would lead to a massive drop in the quality of education as most of those who have left are among the cream of scholars.Chandrajith said that about one-third of students in state universities, eligible for hostel facilities, did not have access to them.He warned that the IUSF will organise massive protests, in the coming weeks, if steps are not taken to resolve the many issues in the University system.
While the Mahapola scholarship has not been increased, the prices of food in the hostels have risen dramatically, he said.
“About 2,500 students in Kelaniya, 4,000 students in Rajarata and 6,000 in Peradeniya do not have hostel accommodation,” he went on to say..According to Chandrajith, a student needs about Rs 20,000 a month to meet basic needs.
“One requires about Rs 12,000 a month for food alone,” he said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Public Administration told The Island that some lecturers and doctors had a 100 percent attendance record but they avoided work.
“They are responsible for the attendance registry and they cook up the books to have full attendance. They take a lot of OT payments by doing this. We are looking at introducing a digital mechanism to mark attendance at universities and hospitals,” he said.
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