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Weerakkody reminds parliament of Ranil’s murky past

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By Saman Indrajith 

When former President Chandrika Bandaranaike  Kumaratunga presented a constitutional amendment as a solution to the ethnic problem, the UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe had torn it into pieces and burnt it in Parliament, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Chandima Weerakkody said in Parliament on Wednesday.

“Now, he is saying he wants to find a solution to the ethnic problem. He can come here and make statements but people watching from their homes have a hard time believing his sincerity. People think of Parliament as a rogues’ gallery. Schoolchildren are paying Rs 6,500 for a schoolbag and Rs. 5,000 a pair of shoes. But MPs talk about issues they face. About houses set on fire and their privileges. We are trying to hold on to power,” he said.

The President and his supporters must be democratic, Weerakkody said, the democratic rights of the people are exercised mainly through elections. Postponing elections would have devastating consequences on the country, he said.

“It will also be bad for the government. Whenever a government delays elections, people tend to vote the opposition into power. The Sirimavo Bandaranaike government postponed elections in 1975. In 1977, the party was reduced to a handful of seats. The Yahapalana government delayed local council elections which were to be held in 2015. In 2018, when the local council elections were held, the SLPP won by a landslide,” he said.

The people of the country have rejected the government and the government is arresting leaders of anti-government protests, Weerakkody said. If there are political parties that are egging on people during the anti-government protests, it is up to the people to reject them, he said.

“However, it’s not up to the government to hound out young people who lead the people. This will not solve anything. If the President wants to solve any of the crises we are faced with, he has to do more to convince the people. President Wickremesinghe was not elected by the people; he was in fact rejected by the people in 2020. He must understand the challenge he faces. The President must first show us that he is sincere. The President was supported by 134 MPs a few months ago. Now it’s down to 121. Even the people who brought him in are losing faith,” he said.

The MP said that if the government was sincere about helping the people and bringing people friendly proposals, all opposition political parties will support them. Weerakkody said even without debt servicing Sri Lanka is struggling to buy essentials, and that showed how grave the economic crisis was.



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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SJB MP: Most parents have to choose between food and children’s education

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By Saman Indrajith

Most Sri Lankan parents are compelled to choose between food for their families and their children’s eduction, SJB Matale District MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathne told Parliament yesterday.

Only a few parents were able to feed and educate their children the MP said, participating in the debate on Budget 2023 under the expenditure heads of Ministries of Education and Women and Child Affairs.

“An 80-page exercise book costs Rs. 200. A CR book costs Rs 560. A pencil or pen costs Rs 40. A box of colour pencils costs Rs 570 while a bottle of glue costs Rs 150. If the father is a daily wage earner he has to spend one fourth of his salary on a box of colour pencils for his child. A satchel now costs around Rs 4,000. A pair of school shoes is above Rs 3,500. The Minister of Education knows well how many days a child could use an 80-page exercise book for taking notes. Roughly, stationery cost is around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per child, MP Wijerathne said, adding that only Rs. 232 billion had been allotted for the Ministry of Education by Budget 2023.

“After paying salaries of teachers and covering officials’ expenses, etc., there will be very little left for other important matters,” the MP said, noting that Sri Lanka would soon be known as the country that made the lowest allocation of funds for education in the South Asian region.

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All crises boil down to flaws in education system, says Dullas

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By Saman Indrajith

All the crises Sri Lanka was beset with were due to the country’s outdated education system, MP Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament yesterday.

“The political and economic crisis we are facing is the direct result of our education,” he said.

The Sri Lankan education system had not changed with global developments. Our system is not even geared for employment. Our examination system is antiquated and our classrooms are in the 19th Century.

However, the students belong to the 21st century. How can you cater to 21st Century children under an outdated system?” he queried.

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