NCM: Govt lawmakers display majority in Parliament | Sunday Observer

NCM: Govt lawmakers display majority in Parliament

Despite the JVP’s sound and fury to muster the support of all progressive parties in Parliament to make its No Confidence Motion (NCM) a success, Government lawmakers again displayed their majority in Parliament on Thursday, July 11, by defeating the JVP-sponsored NCM against the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Government, by a majority of 27 votes. The NCM received 92 votes in favour and 119 against.

All UPFA and SLFP MPs extended their support and voted for the NCM moved by the JVP. The TNA and the other constituent parties of the UNP Government voted against the Motion, which paved the way for its defeat with a comfortable majority.

It was a noteworthy feature that 13 Parliamentarians including Mahinda Samarasinghe, Duminda Dissanayake, S.B. Navinna, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Dunesh Gankanda, Ashoka Priyantha, Douglas Devananda, V. Radhakrishnan and Shivashakthi Anandan were absent at the time of voting.

During the two-day debate on the NCM, Opposition Parliamentarians blamed the Government for failing to take measures to prevent the Easter Sunday carnage. However, Government law makers who joined the debate, said the Opposition failed to bring any solid evidence against the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on their alleged failure.

Non Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said many speeches of the Opposition members contained mere allegations and not any convincing evidence in support of their arguments. He said the lack of evidence is a clear testimony that the Government was not responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks. He said neither the Prime Minister nor the Cabinet received any information prior to the terror attacks.

Non Cabinet Minister Perera said following the 52-day political coup, certain developments prevented them from getting information relating to national security. When it was only the President who was privy to such information, accusing the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers was not acceptable.

Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told the House that after defeating the NCM, the incumbent Government can move forward stronger than ever before.

Dismissing the claim that the JVP stood by the Government which came to power in 2015, JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi said it was the SLFP MPs who accepted ministerial portfolios in the 100-day Government. There is a long list of SLFP MPs who readily accepted ministerial portfolios in the 100-day Government so it was this very SLFP which defended the Government and not us.

He said as this is a sort of a ‘distorted’ Parliament, it should be dissolved providing the opportunity for the people to elect a new Government which respects the people’s mandate. Handunneththi said they didn’t support the illegal attempt to overthrow the Government on October 26 because it is a violation of the Constitution.

JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake accused Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa of trying to protect the Government. He said Rajapaksa has voted only once against the Budgets presented by the Government. Chief Opposition Whip MP Mahinda Amaraweera too has never voted against successive Government Budgets. Ratnayake also threw up the challenge to Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring 97 Opposition MPs to Parliament at the time of voting on the NCM and prove that he doesn’t have any deal with the Prime Minister.

Minister Champika Ranawaka said the JVP sponsored No Confidence Motion (NCM) accuses the Government for not taking steps to prevent the Easter Sunday disaster. The Government, security forces and intelligence units cannot absolve themselves of blame.

However, we have to examine whether the answer to this is to topple the Government paving the way for international terrorism to emerge in our country or defeat this threat through a joint program in collaboration with all political parties. There is a need for a proper counter terrorism mechanism to sort out this problem. The Minister reiterated the need to revamp the intelligence and security establishments. UPFA MP Nimal Lanza made the point that it is the Government which should find out who is responsible for the Easter Sunday disaster - whether it was the Government or the President.

Deputy Minister Ajith Mannapperuma who was critical of the comments made by MP Lanza queried as to why he failed to shed even a tear drop when a Christian fishermen Anthony and a Free Trade Zone worker Roshen Chanaka were killed and similarly a large number of people at Weliveriya lost their lives. Deputy Minister Mannapperuma queried as to how many people were killed by military orders and how many were lifted by white vans. He asked the JVP whether they trying to bring such a Government back to power. Did the former Government ever question Karuna or Pilleyan for their alleged crimes? When the shortcomings of the incumbent Government are highlighted by the media, we don’t abduct or kill journalists as was done by the previous regime.