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If people want a radical change, they should vote for NPP – Dr. Jayatissa

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By Saman Indrajith

People now have make a vital decision about their future at the Aug 5 election, says NPP Kalutara District candidate Dr Nalinda Jayatissa in a brief interview with The Island. “If they want their new parliament to be something akin to what they had earlier, they have several parties to vote for, but if they are desirous of a radical change, then they have to vote for the NPP. We hear that the public servants have wisely cast their postal votes. I think people will do so at the upcoming election.”

“The last parliament was like a prison. It was full of those who should have been serving jail terms. There was the biggest narcotic dealer as an MP. Another MP was the biggest illegal sand and miner. We had the biggest bookie owner.

“There were members involved in timber rackets that destroyed our forests. There were also many who should have been behind bars for the biggest financial scam ever in the known history of this country – the Central Bank Treasury Bond scams. There were MPs with links to the beedi industry. Many of them should have been in prison. If people want such a parliament then there are many to be chosen.”

Asked how the NPP would expect to better its electoral performance at the past few elections, Dr Jayatissa said: “The situation is changing and it is changing faster. In response to that change, political consciousness of the people change. There is nothing static in politics, which is a process. I think people now know that candidates of two main parties promise everything and anything to them to get their votes. The ruling party won the presidential polls promising to punish the wrongdoers including those who misappropriated public funds. They also promised one law for the country. They promised to jail the corrupt and thieves especially those who robbed the Central Bank. They did nothing of the sort. The UNP and the SJB would not change this political culture. The votes cast for these two parties would finally help Mahinda Mahaththaya (Mahinda Rajapaksa), who is planning to effect crossovers. People thought Sajith Premadasa had a political future when they saw media reports of him distributing houses and many other things among the Hambantota people. He has got exposed. People who watched him on TV thought that he had actually done something. The real story is known to only people in Hambantota. They gave loans to people to build houses and with the amount they spent on one house, eight houses could have been constructed. He has no vision and he would say anything that comes to his mouth. I think by this time entire country knows that SJB would do no better than the SLPP or UNP in power. So now it’s up to the people to decide what is good for them.

“See for an example in the recent issue of destruction to archaeologically important site at Kurnegala. It is said by experts that the building at the site was built by King Buvenekabahu II. There are reports that it has been demolished. This is a national crime.

The demolition occurred at Kurnegala and the site belongs to the Department of Archaeology that comes under the purview of the Prime Minister, who is contesting from the same district. In such a situation, they seem hell bent on re-writing the history to save their man responsible for this crime. They have vowed in public to ensure that not even a hair of the criminal would be harmed. There is a criminal act and the culprit is known and can easily be identified but no action has been taken. This administration shields its men at any cost. It is to change that political culture, the people should vote for the JVP led NPP.”

Asked to explain his party’s promise to develop the national economy which according to him is in tatters, Dr Jayatissa said that only the NPP had a plan to do so. “We have put forward a sound economic plan and people would see that it is the only plan which could help build a national economy. The country’s economy should be replaced with a new national economy to do away with disparities. We do not think it is practical to envision that an economy of a country alone would revive all by itself while all other sectors are in a mess. An economy does not exist in a vacuum. It is on the basis of those realities that we have formulated NPP’s economic policy plan.

“We propose the revival of three main areas to improve the economy. They will act like pillars bearing an economy. The first of these pillars signify the changes that we intend to introduce to change the existing political culture. Today, politics has become a business. It should be transformed into a public service. The second stands for our drive to restore and strengthen democracy and rule of law. Third pillar is the commitment to achieving national reconciliation by promoting the idea of a pan-Sri Lankan national identity. We do not think that a sound economy would exist in this country without improving the imperatives from those three main areas.

“In developing the Sri Lankan economy, we should take into consideration the country’s geo-strategic location, its resources and its human resource. We plan to formulate policies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of resources in a manner that would ensure national interests.

Our plan envisions that economic policies for this country should focus on four main ills our national economy is suffering from. The first is the debt crisis. The revenue received by the Treasury is not sufficient to pay loan installments. The second is the mismatch between the country’s imports and exports. We spend around 20 billion US dollars on imports while our exports amount to only to 10 billion US dollars. The third problem is the collapse of our industrial sector. The fourth factor to be taken into consideration in formulating economic policies is the inequitable distribution of the national wealth. If you read it you would understand that we have covered all angles to develop this country’s economy – things that could be done.”

 



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Bid to use private member’s motion to put off LG polls alleged

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has questioned the rationale behind President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s warning that the military will be deployed to curb protest vis-a-vis a Foreign Ministry undertaking to boost foreign trade and investment.

Addressing the Parliament, during the Budget committee stage debate, on 28 Nov., Prof. Peiris said the Foreign Ministry couldn’t expect to succeed in economic diplomacy while the government was resorting to repressive measures.

Prof. Peiris asked who would want to invest in a country where the people were warned of dire consequences if they held protests, and elections were arbitrarily postponed.

Referring to the long overdue Provincial Council polls, Prof. Peiris discussed how postponement of scheduled Local Government polls could further jeopardise Sri Lanka’s standing among the international community.

Prof. Peiris alleged that the government was planning to use private members’ motion submitted by Attorney-at-Law Premanath C. Dolawatta (SLPP, Colombo District) to put off scheduled Local Government polls further. The ex-Minister claimed that the motion meant to enhance youth representation in governance would be utilised to delay the polls indefinitely. He recalled how the Yahapalana government had postponed the Provincial Council elections indefinitely.

The rebel SLPP Chairman pointed out that the government had chosen MP Dolawatta’s motion, handed over recently, though SJB’s Imthiaz Bakeer Markar submitted a private member’s motion on the same lines much earlier.

MP Dolawatta handed over a copy of his motion to President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Oct 31. Prof. Peiris said that they wouldn’t find fault with the lawmaker for making proposals which the academic said were timely.

Prof. Peiris warned Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, that Sri Lanka wouldn’t be an appealing destination for investments unless the government adopted tangible measures to curb corruption. Shocking disclosures at parliamentary watchdog committees underscored that corruption was at unprecedented level and needed immediate attention.

Speaking on behalf of the breakaway SLPP faction, Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa aka Freedom People’s Congress Prof. Peiris said that the recent declaration by the World Bank that it would audit the procurement and distribution of fertiliser here meant that the world had no faith in our system.

Commenting on assurances given by the government that a new Anti-Corruption Bill would be introduced soon, Prof. Peiris said that existing laws were quite sufficient. The issue at hand is absence of political will to battle corruption, the former Minister said, meant flight of professionals and intolerable increase in taxes on business wouldn’t encourage Foreign Ministry’s drive.

At the onset of his speech, lawmaker Peiris asked whether the government was genuine about the recent declaration that the national issue could be resolved by the enactment of a new Constitution by the next Independence Day. Who would take such a promise seriously against the backdrop of all previous attempts undertaken by far more stable governments failing to achieve the desired results? the former law professor asked. The former minister also questioned the feasibility of forming an apparatus on the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Prof. Peiris asked whether those now at the helm really had the wherewithal to meet the South African standards.

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State FM assures there won’t be shortage of milk powder

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State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told Parliament yesterday (29) that there would be no shortage of milk powder in the coming days due to the Customs holding a consignment of six containers of milk powder, imported into the country, for violating regulations.

Minister Siyambalapitiya said the six containers had 105,375 kilos of full cream milk powder, imported from New Zealand, via Malaysia. It reached the Colombo port on 20 Oct. It was only after the consignment had arrived in the Port that the importers submitted the letters to get the consignment released from the Controller Imports and Exports. Arrangements would be made to release the stock from the harbour on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Ministry of Trade and Food Security.

As such, there is no need for permission from the Controller Import and Export to release the stock, the minister said, adding that there were no limitations imposed on importing milk powder and there would be no cause for panic buying in fear of a shortage of milk powder in the coming days.

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Dolawatta responds to GL

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SLPP MP Premanath C. Dolawatta said his private member’s motion wouldn’t lead to the postponement of local government polls. He said he felt the need to restore the 25% quota for youth, even before he entered Parliament, consequent to the August 2020 general election. The government and the Opposition could quickly reach a consensus on the proposals, and avoid unnecessary complications. MP Dolawatta said so when The Island sought his response to accusations made by Prof. Peiris, who said that time was rapidly running out for Local Government polls. As the nomination process needed to be commenced soon to ensure that 341 Local Government bodies could be constituted by 20 March 2023.

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