Sabry says those with vested interests distort his statements
by Saman Indrajith
Justice Minister Ali Sabry yesterday said a group with vested interests had distorted his speeches to tarnish his image.
“They take sentences in my speech out of context and level various accusations against me. I am accused of things that I have not said and not even intended to say,” the Minister said in a brief interview with The Island.
“I actually have no time to respond to these allegations because it would deprive me of my time that I need to attend to my work. But since you asked about these sustained malicious attacks, I respond that I have seen recently that whatever I say get misinterpreted in other forums. For example recently in Parliament there was a question posted to me.
It asked whether I understand that article 12(1) of the Constitution required that all laws should apply to everyone equally in this country. Then I was asked whether I agree that Article 16 of the same Constitution was preventing that previous law taking into effect. The Article 16 has been included in the constitution allowing for the functioning of special laws that prevailed in the country when that constitution was promulgated. When that constitution came in there were special laws for particular communities and for particular subjects.
“In my response I said that there are a number of such special laws. I said that they cannot remove Article 16 from the Constitution because all personal and special laws will collapse. There is Theswalamai law, there are Upcountry laws and there are Muslim laws. I also pointed out that if that Article 16 is taken out of the constitution all such personal laws will be abolished including the Buddhist Temporalities Act. I also said not to do that and it could not be done. Soon after that my speech was misinterpreted and I was accused of speaking to remove the Buddhist Temporalities Act. I never said so. That is not even intended, never said and in reality one could not do away with it anyway because this is a Buddhist country.”
President’s Counsel Sabry said: “I can’t remove the laws that I like or dislike just because I am the Justice Minister. I have no such powers. There is a whole process. It has to go to the cabinet and get its approval, thereafter it has to go to the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Legal Draftsman has to send it to the Attorney General. The Attorney General if he thinks that it could become law has to send it to the Cabinet again. If the cabinet approves it again then it has to be published in the gazette. Then that has to come before parliament as a draft bill. It is read and debated twice. In parliament it has to be passed by majority of votes.
“I single-handedly cannot amend existing laws or bring in new laws. These accusations have got the support of ignorant people who do not know about that process. This would not have happened if they look into the teachings of the Buddha in the Kalama Sutra of the Tripitaka which instructs one not to accept anything merely because somebody says so but to use one’s brain and find out what is correct and what is not.
“If we follow Kalama Sutra in this country, most of those mishaps and effects of miscommunication could be avoided. We must follow the Kalama Sutta in spirit and in law. I am not talking of Buddhism but of Buddhist values which state that hatred never ceases by hatred but by love. And there is the Buddhist value- wishing may all beings be happy, may all beings be well, may all beings be relieved of pain and attain liberation. That means all kinds of people including the animals should get liberated. It is time that we question ourselves whether we live by those values. And the Buddha has also said that somebody would never become an outcaste or Brahamana by birth, but by conduct.
“These are the values that I have been brought up. I may be a Muslim but I am a Sri Lankan. I studied in the Sinhala medium from Grade One. Those values are inculcated in me and my sub conscience through the readings, through the society, through the speeches. I am inspired by those values not by these hegemonic values. Beautiful values of the Buddha are part of my life. I do not hate anyone, I do not think I am superior to anyone else.”
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
Parents can be tried for son’s school shooting: Appeals court
N Korea tests new underwater nuclear attack ‘drone’: State media
Showers in Sabaragamuwa, Central, Uva, Southern, North-Western and North-Central provinces in afternoon or night
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
News5 days ago
Sri Lankan recognized as a Fellow by Society of Architectural Historians
News5 days ago
New orchid species discovered in Walankada Forest Reserve
News4 days ago
Geoffrey Bawa exhibition opens in New Delhi
Editorial6 days ago
‘Shree Anna’ and Sri Lanka
Features4 days ago
A tribute to a great leader
Breaking News6 days ago
Arrest warrant issued for Putin over alleged war crimes
News4 days ago
MPs urged to defeat move to conduct Law College exams only in English medium
News1 day ago
Decorated gunship pilot blacklisted for appearing on political stage