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Sabry asks MPs to abhor Machiavelli type behaviour

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By Saman Indrajith

Justice Minister Ali Sabry, on Friday, said that MPs should take the duty of leading their followers seriously and therefore had to be careful with their public statements while keeping in mind that they could not act against the Constitution.

Participating in the debate on vote on account, the Minister said that the members had taken oaths to uphold and protect the Constitution and not to directly or indirectly within or outside of the country to support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage and advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka. “If that is the case we should never by our act or conduct espouse that kind of thing,” Minister Sabry said.

Minister Sabry said that the Svasthi (Constitutional proclamation) of Lankan Constitution says that “We, the freely elected representatives of the people of Sri Lanka, in pursuance of such mandate, humbly acknowledging our obligations to our People and gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain and preserve their rights and privileges so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, just, social, economic and cultural order attained, the unity of the country restored, and concord established with other nations, do hereby adopt and enact this constitution.”

“I believe we as MPs should stand for those values without resorting to rhetoric,” he said.

The Minister said that they had to abide by the Article Nine of the Constitution which gave first and foremost place to Buddhism. “Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)”. The Article 10 of Constitution says that every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice. Article 12 of the Constitution says that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds. “Now, the time for everyone to read and understand them,”

Minister Ali Sabri said: “We have got to protect the Constitution and if so we have to foster Buddhism. In the meantime we have got to guarantee the right to religion and to treat all equally. If we read them clearly we don’t have to listen to those unnecessary statements made by some here. It is enough.

“I remember the inaugural speech of the late Gamini Dissanayake mentioned a quotation from French revolutionary Camille Desmoulins -‘Let us watch in which diversion the mob is running, so that we can lead them.’ But, that is not the leadership. Leaders need to find for themselves what is right for this country and it is that direction they should lead followers, lead them to safety, dignity and integrity of this nation. That is how we can build this country. It is no point in positioning yourself at the front of the mob and getting their votes to be on this side or that side. We have to find what is right for this country. We must give leadership to this country. That is exactly President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants. He made it very clear in his address before this august assembly that he wants to create a country where all citizens will feel safe, secure and dignified. I invite everyone to join hands, forget the past and move on to build a Sri Lanka which is inclusive. That is called inclusive nationalism. We do not want any sort of division. It is with unity we can build this country and go towards prosperity.”



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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