Connect with us

News

SJB flays SLPP over appointments to commissions

Published

on

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) yesterday (11) questioned the composition of various commissions with the focus on the Police Commission, Public Service Commission and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office, at No 30, Marcus Fernando Mawatha, SJB lawmaker Mujibur Rahman alleged that the commissions had been packed with those near and dear to ‘pohottuwa’ administration.

The Colombo District MP said that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution touted as the panacea for all our ills paved the way for politicization of commissions. Lawmaker Rahman said that the government owed the public an explanation why 80-year-old former Minister Jagath Balasuriya was named the Chairman of the HRCSL.

MP Rahman said that the new HRCSL Chairman’s wife Kumari served as the Governor of the Southern Province during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency and their son, Tharaka is the current State Minister for Regional Cooperation.

Rahman said that a near 2/3 majority received by the SLPP at the parliamentary election last August shouldn’t be abused. It would be a grave mistake on the part of the government to reward henchmen at the expense of the integrity of the commissions.

Referring to various other appointments to the commissions, the MP said that those who backed the SLPP at the 2019 presidential election and the parliamentary poll last August were accommodated much to the disappointment of those who really appreciated the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 2015.

The SJB member frowned on the appointment of former IGP Chandra Fernando as the Chairman of the Police Commission. Fernando served as a member of the PCoI that recently concluded the probe into political victimizations during the yahapalana regime.

Responding to another The Island query, lawmaker Rahman said that the Muslim community had been deprived of representation in the HRCSL. Recollecting the establishment of HRCSL in 1997 during Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga presidency, lawmaker Rahman said that the body always included a representative from the Muslim community. However, the appointments made in terms of the 20th Amendment deprived the Muslim community their entitlement, the MP asserted.

Rahman said that he raised the issue in parliament recently in the presence of Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC. The former UNPer claimed that Minister Sabry refrained from responding when he urged him to take up HRCSL matter et al with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Lawmaker Rahman pointed out that new HRCSL had been constituted when the one in place was yet to complete the stipulated five year period. If the SLPP administration desired to replace HRCSL or any other commission before they completed the assigned period, a motion should have been moved in parliament to pave the way for new appointments, the MP said.

MP Rahman alleged that the SLPP got rid of the 10-member Constitutional Council to pave the way for five-man Parliamentary Council which was nothing but a rubber seal therein to endorse President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s strategy. The SJB spokesperson also found fault with the SLPP for depriving civil society an opportunity to represent what he claimed was a well-balanced Constitutional Council chaired by the Speaker.

The Constitutional Council included three civil society members.

Former UNP Minister and one-time Chairman of that party Kabir Hashim, MP represents the Muslim community in the recently constituted Parliamentary Council. PC comprises Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, Douglas Devananda and Kabir Hashim, who represent Tamil and Muslim communities, respectively.

Asked whether the SJB would request MP Hashim to take up denial of a Muslim representation in the HRCSL with the Parliamentary Council, MP Rahman said that the member did. “We’ll continue to raise this issue. Parliamentary Council cannot turn a blind eye to our just demand,” MP Rahman said.

The MP compared the HRCSL appointed by the Constitutional Council headed by Karu Jaysuriya and the incumbent body. Responding to another query, Rahman acknowledged that by the time he raised the HRCSL issue during debate on justice ministry, the appointments had already been made.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

Published

on

Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

Continue Reading

News

Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

Published

on

Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

Continue Reading

News

British national to be deported

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

Continue Reading

Trending