Fielding a Muslim candidate a losing race – Fowzie | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Fielding a Muslim candidate a losing race – Fowzie

Former Minister A H M Fowzie, Spokesperson of the Muslim parliamentarians group told the Sunday Observer yesterday that fielding a separate Muslim candidate for the Presidential election would be a losing race.

For the first time in history, all Muslim Ministers appeared on one platform following the protests launched island wide urging ex-Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to step down from his position as a Cabinet Minister, in June this year. Bathiudeen was then alleged to have ties with the terrorists of the Easter Sunday attack.

In response to the protests, all Muslim Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers resigned from their respective positions after convening a media briefing. Once rivals in terms of Muslim votes, the leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauf Hakeem and the leader of All Ceylon Makkal Congress Rishad Bathiudeen addressed the media where Muslim MPs in the UNP and the SLFP were also present, including Kabir Hashim and A.H.M. Fowzie.

Weeks later the police informed the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Easter Sunday attack that, they had found no evidence to connect Bathiudeen with the terrorist attack.

“We have a two million population in the country. So what is the point of fielding a separate candidate at the Presidential election?” Fowzie questioned.

He said, “Once the Presidential candidates are announced, we will decide on the supporting candidate. The promising candidate should look into the interests of all minority people, not only the Muslims”.

Meanwhile, the ex-Muslim Ministers have officially informed the Prime Minister’s office about their decision to receive back the Ministerial portfolios. “The President is out of the country right now.

The Prime Minister’s office will inform the President’s office in due course” Fowzie said. Former Minister of Postal and Muslim Affairs, Abdul Haleem told the Sunday Observer that there is nothing wrong in receiving the Ministries back as Rishad Bathiudeen was not found guilty. “Some MPs are shouting in Parliament but none of them have complained about Bathiudeen. Now our problems are being resolved gradually and it is the right time for the Muslim MPs to take back their positions,” he said.

However, the Secretary to the President, Udaya R. Seneviratne confirmed that, no request with regard to receiving the Ministerial positions of the Muslim Ministers have been received by the President Secretariat as of yesterday morning.