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Wiggy blames Easter carnage on carelessness and indifference of security arm of Law politicized in recent times

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By Saman Indrajith

Jaffna District Thamizh Makkal Thesiya Kootani (TMTK) MP C.V. Wigneswaran told Parliament on Wednesday that those very same persons who were working hard to bring the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and all those who supported it would surely take to the streets tomorrow to fight for the abolition of the same amendment.

Participating in the second reading debate on the amendment, MP Wigneswaran said: “This amendment you bring today will boomerang on you, your children, and the future generations of your family. Please do not prick your eyes with your own fingers. My dear colleagues from both sides, please do not allow this 20th Amendment to be passed with a two-thirds majority.”

 Vigneswaran said that it was so unfortunate that every party which had come to power brought in laws to further its intersts, and those of its members and supporters forgetting their duty towards all people and the country as a whole. “Those who aspire to become a Lee Kuan Yew should shed their partisan predilections if they are to progress. Lee Kuan Yew did not pursue a Chinese Buddhist path. He loved every Singaporean of whatever hue he or she was. Branding the minorities as terrorists might bring votes from the majority but it would not help to take the country forward. There would certainly be geo–political and international reaction. This is in furtherance of their attitude of self-interest that those in power were today bringing in this 20th Amendment to clothe a single individual with enormous powers. This would for sure strike the death knell to democracy and human rights in the country.

“The world civilization in its onward march searches for ways and means to improve democratic principles and work towards human rights, equality and reconciliation among contending factions locally and internationally At this juncture it is funny that we in Sri Lanka want to denigrate democracy and desecrate the decent dimensions in a democratic way of life,” he said.

“For over 20 years we have been talking of bringing in a Constitution which would reconcile the ethnic differences among communities and lead the country forward. For over quarter of a century we have been promising to abolish the Executive Presidency. Nothing has been done so far in that regard. But this government is making the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings as a convenient excuse for them to bring this 20th amendment. They are trying to make out it was the lowering of presidential powers by the 19th Amendment which gave rise to the April 21 tragedy.

Hence they say President must have unfettered powers. It certainly sounds humorous to say a criminal or thief could only be caught or arrested if the President is clothed with extraordinary powers?

“The real cause for the April 21 incident was the carelessness and indifference of the security arm of the Law which has been politicized in recent times. If the judiciary, police and public service had been allowed to function independently we would not have witnessed the April 21 tragedy. 

“Most countries in the world do not have an Executive Presidential system. Do those countries always have security lapses? Or do countries that have this system never have had security lapses? Therefore it is time we thought prudently and pragmatically and got rid of the Executive Presidential system and make the Rule of Law supreme,” he said.



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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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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)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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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.

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British national to be deported

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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.

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