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Malay Confederation remains neutral at election

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The Sri Lanka Malay Confederation (SLAMAC), the umbrella body of the All Malay organizations in Sri Lanka, says it is not a political organsation and therefore will remain neutral at the upcoming general election.

Secretary General of the SLAMAC Rilwan Lantra has said in a media statement: ” It is noted that for the parliamentary election several members of our community are contesting from different parties. Whilst we wish them well, some who head an association to project themselves as the leaders of our community and that the whole community is supporting them. The Sri Lankan Malays have had a very cordial relationship with all as one Sri Lanka. We do not support party politics, but cast our votes as per our own wishes and in a democratic manner.

“Prominent respected elders of the community representing various Malay associations spearheaded by the Late Brig. T.B. Sally, Late Alhaj Noor Amith and Late T.K. Sabar felt that more integration among them would raise awareness amongst the community to promote and protect their culture. Since these institutions were in isolation spread across the country, integrating with each other would be advantageous to share and enhance their cultural practices. The game Sepak Takraw was introduced by the SLAMAC to the community with the formation of the august body. The Indonesian Embassy was a source to these institutions seeking to study their ancestral practices.

“The then Indonesian Ambassador Sufri Yusuf facilitated the establishment of the Sri Lanka Malay Confederation. Little over 200 members from 16 Malay organizations attended the inaugural meeting held at the Ambassador’s residence on May 18, 1984.” (ZJ)

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Appointment of ministers advanced; govt. to abide by 19A, restrict number to 30

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Defence portfolio to remain unassigned

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has advanced the swearing in of the cabinet of ministers to Wednesday (12). Earlier, the swearing in was to take place at Dalada Maligawa on Friday (14). The venue remains the same.

Sources told The Island that the government would abide by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in early 2015 until a new Constitution could be introduced or shortcomings in the current one rectified.

The SLPP has won 145 seats. Besides the SLFP, several smaller parties which secured seats back the government.

The UNP and the UPFA got together to form a national government in 2015 to appoint more than 30 Cabinet ministers.

The new government could appoint 30 ministers in addition to the President, who is the head of the Cabinet. The lion’s share of ministries would be shared among the SLPP members while the National Freedom Front (NFF), the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), the MEP, the SLFP, etc., would receive the remaining slots. The EPDP, which contested the

Aug 5 election on its own, will receive a Cabinet portfolio; the CWC, which contested on the SLPP ticket, is entitled to one.

The Defence portfolio is unlikely to be assigned to anyone until a constitutional amendment is introduced to enable President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces to hold that post.

President Rajapaksa refrained from assigning the defence portfolio when he appointed caretaker cabinet soon after his swearing in as the President, last November.

The 19th Amendment has deprived the President of the right to hold ministerial portfolios.

 

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Hasina calls MR over SLPP’s victory

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday congratulated Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on the victory of ruling SLPP party in the Aug 5 elections.

In a message to Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sheikh Hasina said the victory of the ruling party is a reflection of the trust and confidence of the people of Sri Lanka in the present leadership of the country, said PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.

She said Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been working, based on their close relations on various issues of common interests like accelerating inter-country connectivity, containing terrorism and militancy as well as climate change.

Hasina described the living of a large number of Sri Lankans in Bangladesh as an example of excellent bilateral ties between Dhaka and Colombo.

In her message, the prime minister especially recalled her bilateral meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa during his official visit to Bangladesh and exchange of views between the two countries in various international events to accelerate bilateral issues.

She said Dhaka has been working on to give the bilateral relations a stronger footing during the tenure of Mahindra Rajapaksa in the government.

Hasina said both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will work together to establish peace, harmony and prosperity in South Asia.

The prime minister invited her Sri Lankan counterpart Rajapaksa to visit Bangladesh at his convenience.

 

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Amaratunga stakes claim for sole UNP National List slot

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… if Ranil not interested

by Zacki Jabbar

The UNP leadership is scheduled to meet today to decide who should get the National List seat the party received at last week’s general election.

Senior UNPer John Amaratunga said yesterday that as number one on the party’s National List, he would stake a claim to the seat if leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was not interested.

All indications were that Wickremesinghe was not keen on being in the legislature at this juncture and would focus on restructuring the party, he noted.

Amaratunga recalled that he had served the UNP as a loyal member and been elected to Parliament over a period of four decades. “That is why, I was placed on top of the National List,” he added.

No one should forget the senior leadership’s contribution to the party through thick and thin, the veteran UNPer said, stressing that seniority had to be recognised and rewarded and gratitude practised if society as a whole was to evolve for the better.

Amaratunga hoped that the unfortunate recent past could be forgotten and the United National Party and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya came together at some point in time because there was hardly any difference in their policies and most importantly neither propagated racism as a means of capturing power.

 

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