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Malaysia reiterates strong security cooperation with Sri Lanka, while not giving any room to extremists

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Malaysian High Commissioner in Colombo Tan Yang Thai meeting on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry last week (11).

Malaysian High Commissioner in Colombo Tan Yang Thai has commended policies implemented by Sri Lanka to tackle the spread of the virus.

The envoy commended Sri Lanka’s strategies to fight against the pandemic when he called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry last week (11), the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

It said: Discussions between the two dignitaries focused on enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and security between the two countries.

The High Commissioner while commenting that all countries were struggling to stay afloat amidst the raging COVID-19 virus which continued to claim heavy toll on their economies, commended policies implemented by Sri Lanka to tackle the spread of the virus. 

High Commissioner Tan Yang Thai also noted that Malaysia would continue to support the ASEAN centrality and the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) expected to facilitate the Southeast Asian economies to return to normalcy overcoming the contagion in the post COVID-19 era. The RCEP would connect about 30% of the world’s people and generate significant gains, particularly in Southeast Asia by 2030 and improve access to Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) opening up opportunities for market access in areas of transport, energy, and communications.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena expressing his sincere wishes to the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, said that he was optimistic that Sri Lanka and Malaysia could gear up its cooperation in multifarious fields at the beginning of next year by holding bilateral political consultations. Both dignitaries agreed that there was immense potential for Sri Lanka to expand trade with Malaysia, particularly in agriculture based industries.    

Minister Gunawardena commended the cooperation extended by Malaysia in security-related fields and both endorsed closer cooperation. High Commissioner Tan underlined that Malaysia would not condone any type of terrorism or extremism in Malaysia, and would take every measure to curtail and would continue to promote peace and stability in the region. Furthermore, the Malaysian High Commissioner assured that Malaysia would continue to support Sri Lanka in the regional and International fora. Minister Gunawardena reiterated that Sri Lanka expected to build a strong bond with the ASEAN community during his tenure and highlighted that Sri Lanka expected to become a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. 

The trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia has been increasing over the last few years with the emergence of Malaysia as one of Sri Lanka’s major trading partners. At present, Malaysia is the 4th supplier to Sri Lanka in 2019 supplying 4.6% of Sri Lanka’s total imports. Malaysia was the 39th export destination of Sri Lanka in 2019. Malaysia was also the 6th investing partner of Sri Lanka in the year of 2019. 



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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