We will sit in Opposition and be with the President - SB | Sunday Observer

We will sit in Opposition and be with the President - SB

The 16 SLFP Ministerial rebels who walked out of the Unity Government after voting in favour of a No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier this month, claim they will collaborate with the Joint Opposition when a new Parliamentary session begins on May 8. However, former Minister for Social Empowerment and Welfare, S.B. Dissanayake, who sat down for an interview with the Sunday Observer this week, insisted that they would also continue their politics with President Maithripala Sirisena. “The JO is also our MPs,” Dissanayake said, adding that discussions had already begun to strike up a broad alliance of opposition parties in Parliament.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q. Why did the 16 MPs quit the Yahapalana Government?

A. There were several reasons for that decision. During the past period, we along with President Maithripala Sirisena made a big effort to take this Government forward. As a result, we could achieve certain victories as well. However, despite our efforts to prevent some adverse moves by the Government, such as, sale of state properties and large scale corruption in some state establishments, it was without success. We can quote examples such as the unsavory incidents at the Central Bank, SriLankan Airlines, Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port. We saw the attempts to get commissions and other malpractices in these projects. The President could prevent some of these wrongdoings. The Prime Minister should be fully responsible for the Central Bank bond scam. The entire economy was placed under the control of the Prime Minister. The Ministries of Policy Planning, Economic Development and the Central Bank were taken over by the Prime Minister. That is how they managed the economy, but it failed. After the LG election, the proposal for a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against the Prime Minister first came from the UNP. Some UNP MPs met both the President and us. At the UNP Working Committee, 11 UNP Ministers had stood up and requested the Prime Minister to step down.

I understand, more than half the UNP Ministers had met the President and told him they cannot cooperate with the Prime Minister. Thereafter, the President had requested the Premier to quit his portfolio. The SLFP Parliamentary group also took an unanimous decision and asked the Prime Minister to resign. Hence, the NCM was brought in. It was Minister Mahinda Amaraweera who first went to the Bribery Commission and complained against the Treasury bond scam. Later, our party seniors staged a protest in front of the Central Bank. The Nimal Siripala de Silva Committee requested the President to appoint a Presidential Commission to probe the Treasury bond scam. Apparently, what was promised prior to the NCM never materialized. Therefore, we decided to vote for the NCM and quit the Government. None of the SLFPers supported the Prime Minister on the NCM. A section of the SLFPers in the Government supported the NCM while the others abstained from voting.

Q. Do you expect a favourable response from the SLFP Central Committee to your request that all SLFPers should leave the Yahapalana Government? If this fails what is your alternative?

A. The SLFPers who voted for the NCM were of the view that the SLFP led UPFA should quit the National Government. We have already put forward that proposal to the SLFP Central Committee. I hope the Central Committee will endorse our proposal.

Q. If you succeed, surely there will be a political turmoil, and what will be its impact on the country?

A. There won’t be any imminent political turmoil. Since the UNP Leader, the Prime Minister has shown 122 majority votes in Parliament, he can continue with the Government. I think they are the key stakeholders of the Yahapalana Government. So we will let him proceed.

Q. If all SLFPers leave the Government will it not weaken the party?

A. No. Our party would be further strengthened. Being in the Opposition, we would form a strong political movement in collaboration with the Joint Opposition (JO) and other Opposition political parties. Certainly, the people will rally round this movement within a short time.

Q. Will the 16 SLFP MPs cross over to the Opposition to sit with the JO or act as an independent group in Parliament?

A. The JO too is our MPs. We would sit in the Opposition as MPs of the SLFP and the UPFA headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. We would closely work with the JO and other Opposition parties in Parliament. We have already commenced a dialogue to form a broad political alliance.

Q. At the turn of the current political upheaval, what will be the future of the SLFP?

A. At the last Local Government election, SLFPers left the party as it joined hands with the UNP. As we failed to deliver the goods after forming a National Government with the UNP, our party supporters clearly showed their opposition at the recently concluded LG election. Some SLFPers opposed us thinking we had joined the UNP while others displayed anti-Government sentiments.

Q. Could this Government go ahead even if the Amunugama Committee patches up the situation?

A. We would have an in-depth study on the Amunugama Committee proposals. But we believe it would not bring in any fruitful results.

Q. Would you like to comment on the proposed MoU to continue the National Government as stated by SLFP General Secretary Minister Duminda Dissanayake?

A. Our proposal is that the SLFP should quit the National Government. We have already put forward this proposal to the SLFP Central Committee. The party can take a decision on this. I think, a majority of the SLFP MPs in the Government are of the view that there is no point being in the Government any longer.

Q. Is the JO right in demanding the Opposition Leader’s post? Do you think it is ethical because the JO too contested under the UPFA ticket?

A. I think it is too early to comment on this matter because TNA Leader R.Sampanthan is the Opposition Leader. It is of paramount importance to ensure unity, harmony and trust among the communities in Parliament. Therefore, we have to take a decision on this matter with utmost care. Before taking such a decision, those in the JO and the 16 SLFPers who joined the Opposition would have to discuss this as we all contested under the UPFA ticket.

Q. What is the effect of proroguing Parliament? Do you think this was done with the intention of making all Committees and reports of the current Parliament to lapse?

A. An environment conducive to prorogue Parliament had been created. Sixteen SLFP MPs have quit the Government. In these circumstances, the Government cannot survive. The President had to attend the Commonwealth Summit. Therefore, the President made a temporary arrangement by appointing other SLFP Ministers to the vacant ministerial posts. At present, there is an important proposal placed before the SLFP Central Committee. Sections of the SLFP MPs have quit the Government. Therefore, it is a timely move to prorogue Parliament until May 8 so that a new Cabinet of Ministers can be appointed.

Q. When 16 SLFP MPs sit in the Opposition what would be its effect on the President?

A. We would sit in the Opposition as MPs representing the SLFP and the UPFA headed by President. We would however discuss with the JO and other political parties in the Opposition to launch a broad political alliance. We would further continue our politics with the President. 

Comments

These 16 Crooks are the Frogs in parliament this guy SB and DilanPerera were rejected by the people and now the "Kakati Susano" President My THree Moda Sena,gave them a chance to get into parliament Go to Hanguranketha Kandy and see for yourself How his mansion stands ask yourself from where did this shortie get this type of money to build this manion ? what is his salary ? so the president Knows about his swindling ,and Dilan Perera the money he made when he was in charge of the Foreign Employment Ministry during the Mahinda Rajapakshe Government.