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Sabry sees Muslims returning to main political parties

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Muslims in various parts of the country contributed in their own way in support of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which won a landslide at the recently concluded general election on Wednesday, Ali Sabry, President of the Muslim Federation of the party said on Sunday.

Sabry, who has been nominated as a member of the new parliament from the National List of the SLPP, was analyzing how the members of the Muslim community responded to the call of the SLPP to join the mainstream of politics instead of ethno-religious ones.

To mark the victory of the SLPP, Sabry was accorded warm receptions in Muslim areas of Colombo such as Hulftsdorp, Grandpass, Maligawatte, Modera and Kolannawa. National Organizer of the Muslim Federation A. L. M Uwais Hajjiar also took part in the victory celebrations.

“We were able to secure between 35 and 40 per cent of the Muslim votes since they realised that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government would give them a better deal,” Sabry said, adding that Muslims in Kalutara, Beruwela, Weligama, Bandaragama, Colombo, Kandy and Kurnegala, had supported the SLPP at the recently-concluded election. He lamented that the Muslim turnout in the north and the East was poor since the SLPP being a new party would take time to establish itself in that part of the country, and the SLPP candidates were new comers.

Attributing reasons for the resounding success and the enhanced response from the Muslim community, Sabry said during the brief regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, people had realised that he was the only person in the country who could deliver the goods well. He added that the way the government battled the Covid-19 had impressed the entire nation that it was the ideal government with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President and Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Premier to serve its people for peaceful coexistence and make them live in peace, harmony and prosperity. “The combination of the President and Premier was not only cordial, but also proved to the people that such partnership could even run without the parliament,” he stressed.

“We are encouraged by the support of the Muslims to the SLPP but we will continue to work with them to enhance the cooperation from all areas under the Muslim Federation banner,” Sabri concluded.

 

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EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A

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Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

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Senasinghe announces quitting politics

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By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

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Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

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