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SJB will move the SC against recommendations of PCoI on political victimization – Kiriella

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by Saman Indrajith

The previous government also had the opportunity to make use of commissions to punish its political rivals, but it never resorted to such cheap tactics and adhered to the accepted legal system in the country, Chief Opposition Whip and SJB Kandy District MP, Lakshman Kiriella said last week.

“There is an accepted legal system in our country to punish anyone who has done something illegal. Making use of commissions to punish political opponents is an outdated method. We never resorted to such tactics though we could have done so during the Yahapalana government’s tenure”, he said during a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo.

He said there are reports to the effect that the government might use recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Political Victimization to deprive some prominent persons of their civic rights.

“This country has a legal system that has provisions to take punitive action against anyone who had committed an offence or was political victimized. The government has to abide by the law. We have set an example in this regard”, he said.

The MP added: “When we came to power in 2015, there were requests from various quarters to appoint commissions to investigate the wrongdoings of some politicians and to strip them of their civic rights. But the then President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were of the view that there was a legal system and the law should take its own course.

“They stood by the decision that there were the police, Attorney General’s Department and the judiciary, and these institutions were sufficient to implement the law. We did not appoint special presidential commissions to take action against rival political parties. Opting to make use of such commissions to punish political rivals is actually an outdated mechanism”.

Kiriella said it was former President JR Jayewardene who introduced the practice of depriving political opponents of their civic rights. That government incurred international opprobrium. That was why no government since 1981 has resorted to such action, but the incumbent government seems to be convinced otherwise.

He said that the SJB would move the Supreme Court against the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization.

The party has consulted its legal advisors to explore the possibility of filing a case against the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization for exceeding its mandate, the MP added.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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