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TPA claims govt. under local and foreign pressure agreed to hold PC polls under PR system



The Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) yesterday claimed that the government came under local and foreign pressure to hold Provincial Council elections. Hence, it had agreed to hold the Provincial Council elections under the Proportional Representation (PR) system.

TPA Leader Mano Ganesan said that it was not possible to hold elections under the mixed system. “If the elections are to be held under the mixed system, the demarcation of electoral boundaries have to be redefined. This is a long-term process,” he said.

He noted that to prevent delaying the elections further, the government and the opposition agreed to hold the election on the PR system, but it was a temporary agreement. “Therefore, electoral reforms will continue. The next meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) will be held on the 22nd of this month,” said TPA leader MP Mano Ganesan.

The TPA Leader said “If we try to change the electoral system at this point, it will only lead to greater delays. Therefore, we stood our ground that the elections must be held and as a result, the government and the opposition were able to come to an agreement at the PSC meeting,” he said.

Ganesan noted that at the PSC meeting, earlier the government members had demanded the mixed system and rejected the proportional system.

“But we opposed this position because it was intended to push aside smaller parties which chose the path of democracy with alternative policies, and to jeopardize the parliamentary and provincial representations of the minority parties representing their communities scattered throughout the country,” he said.

Parties including the SJB and JVP supported the position on proportional system.  “Tamil Progressive Alliance, Tamil National Alliance, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress are also of the view that the proportional system should not be changed,” Ganesan noted.

He asserted that he had also conducted discussions with the leaders of the smaller parties in the government regarding the matter and they too exerted pressure on the government.

He said that the local government council members who are responsible for the day to day needs of the people, including water, electricity and roads, need to represent local wards.

“Therefore, our stance is that the Parliament and the Provincial Councils do not need the mixed system to pick members to represent local electorates. But as for the LG bodies there is a need for members to represent local wards.”

Also, Ganesan claimed that a wrong notion had been created in the country against the preferential voting system. He maintained that the preferential vote was the pinnacle of democracy. The preferential voting system rescued prospective voters from casting their votes only to the candidate nominated by the party hierarchies.

“At the time of voting for their preferred party, every voter is given the “democratic freedom” to choose the candidate of their choice by preferential vote. We need to understand this clearly.”

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Renew firearm license for 2024 before 31st December 2023 – Ministry of Defence




The Ministry of Defence has announced that the renewal of firearm license of individuals/ institutions for the year 2024 will be carried out from 01 October 2023 to 31 December 2023 and the required details can be downloaded from the Defence Ministry’s website

Firearm license renewal for 2024 will not be carried out after 31 December 2023. It is also informed that possession of a firearm without a valid license is a punishable offense under provisions of Section 22 of the Firearms Ordinance.

Registration renewal of Private Security Firms for the year 2024/2025 will be carried out from 01.10.2023 to 31.12.2023. Any renewals made after the deadline will be subjected to a fine or legal action.

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“Unite to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048” – President




President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Milad-Un-Nabi message urged all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048.

“Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all” he said.

The full text of the President’s message :

“My greetings to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world, observing Milad Un Nabi, being the auspicious occasion commemorating the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.

He is celebrated as the final messenger of Allah, known for profound teachings of love and peace that encompass humanity. His journey to spread the message of Islam in the challenging societal context of that time, was marked by significant trials. Even in the face of adversity, the Holy Prophet’s unwavering patience and equanimous strength served as powerful attributes. He was victorious in attaining his aspirations, through boundless sacrifices for faith and humanity.

As we celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday today, it is timely to resolve to uphold the values that were the hallmark of his life, which include mutual understanding, brotherhood, assistance to one another and fairness. Our commitment to fostering social harmony is the most meritorious tribute which could be paid to his legacy.

I urge all Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka, to unite at this juncture in working towards strengthening the path, to secure a developed Sri Lanka by 2048. Let us together overcome the challenges facing our nation, while adhering to the principles espoused by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in ensuring a brighter future for all.

I wish all those of the Islamic faith, a joyous Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, filled with love, peace and prosperity!”

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

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National Security Oversight Comm. Chief denied US visa



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on National Security, Rear Admiral (retd.) Sarath Weerasekera has told Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that the US should not deny a visa to an MP nominated by the Sri Lankan Parliament to join an official delegation unless he/she posed a threat to US interests.

In a letter dated 25 Sept., 2023, the former Public Security Minister has informed Speaker Abeywardena the issuance of visas was the prerogative of the US mission, but the issue of the US Embassy insisting that he be replaced with a member of a minority community must be taken up.

Of the Chairpersons of 17 Oversight Committees chosen for a 10-day study tour of the US organised by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and USAID, later next month, only Weerasekera has been denied a visa.

Declaring that he had B1 (business) and B2 US visa (tourism) or combination of the two, Rear Adm. Weerasekera said that he had no special interest or reason to join the delegation but it was wrong for the US Embassy to deny him a visa.

The MP has said that he will seek an explanation from Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardena in this regard. “In my capacity as Chairman of the Oversight Committee on National Security, I intend to call a meeting with Secretary Defence and Armed Forces chiefs to discuss this matter,” MP Weerasekera said.

Weerasekera retired in late 2006 after having served the Navy with an unblemished record for well over three decades.

Responding to another query, the former Minister said that the Parliament had been asked by the US Embassy to name another member of his committee, representing a minority community for the programme.

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