Be mindful of political schemers - PM | Sunday Observer

Be mindful of political schemers - PM

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said if the Yahapalana cabal had won the 2019 Presidential Election, it would have implemented the agendas of foreign conspirators and finished off Sri Lanka. A Resounding mandate at the General Election is a must to conclusively defeat local and foreign conspiracies active against the country, he said.

The Premier in a media release on ‘Defeating domestic and foreign conspiracies against Sri Lanka’, stated that although the conspirators lost the Presidential Election, they have not given up their quest.

“My request to the people of Sri Lanka is to always have the broader picture in mind when it comes to politics, Premier Rajapaksa said, adding, “If we are able to distinguish what is important from what is unimportant and always have the broader picture in mind, our people will always be the winners.”

The Prime Minister said that the situation following the assumption of power by the Yahapalana Government in 2015 was akin to the country beging taken over by a hostile foreign invading force. They systematically persecuted the nationalist political camp in the country and jailed leading Buddhist monks on trumped up charges to intimidate the Maha Sangha. They moved to demoralise and render ineffective Security Forces which defeated terrorism and ensured the territorial integrity of the country.

The Prime Minister said selected members of the Security Forces ranging from the lowest ranks to the Chief of Defence Staff were arrested, kept in jail and cases were filed against them on trumped up charges. The intention behind all this was to create the impression in the minds of the people and convey to the world that they were not War Heroes but crooks and murderers. The aim of the Yahapalana regime was to destroy the nationalist camp and divide the country.

Premier Rajapaksa said that their plans could not be implemented in its entirety because we won the 2019 November Presidential Election. However, domestic and foreign conspirators have not given up their efforts. He said the main pledges given by the Yahapalana conspirators to their foreign masters were contained in the Resolution 30/1 which the Yahapalana Government co-sponsored at the UN Human Rights Council in October 2015.

Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that there is no agreement to give ministerial portfolios to the SLFP candidates when the SLPP wins the General election. Minister Ranatunga said, “We must watch carefully as to how the group led by former President Sirisena behaves after the General Election since he can’t be trusted. After the election, the former President and his group may impose conditions with regard to ministerial portfolios. However, there are no conditions in the agreement with the SLFP to give them ministerial portfolios,” he said.

Minister Ranatunga said the Opposition is struggling to block the people-friendly path of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There should be a stable and united Government to build a strong country. He said the clashes between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena during the Yahapalana regime dragged the country into chaos and added that such a thing should not happen in the future.

Government lawmakers have said that the SLPP required a two-thirds majority at the Parliamentary polls to introduce far-reaching constitutional and electoral reforms to end instability. Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma in a recent television interview said that the country was in political turmoil due to incompatible electoral systems pulling the country in different directions.

Minister Alahapperuma said that instability would continue until Parliament took remedial measures. He queried as to how we could survive unless chaotic electoral systems were done away with. The Minister underscored the crisis caused by Parliament having to give into demands of some political parties.

Former State Minister and SLPP Anuradhapura District candidate Shehan Semasinghe said that an adjournment debate will be held on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Agreement in the next Parliament and steps will be taken to reveal all information about it. He said that the SLPP has decided to hold an Adjournment debate for a minimum of two days on the report of the expert Committee headed by Prof Lalithasiri Gunaruwan.

Semasinghe said the Parliamentary debate will reveal information on who signed the first two phases of the MCC Agreement and who enforced terms of the Agreement ignoring the law and if there was a monetary transaction, how it happened and how an MCC office was maintained initially at Temple Trees and later in Dehiwala. He said if the Yahapalana Government had done any harm to the country through the MCC Agreement, legal action will be taken against all those concerned. Semasinghe said the MCC Agreement which is unfavourable to the country will not be signed by their Government.

However, SLPP frontliners are saying that it is not easy to get out of the MCC Agreement with the United States as the former Yahapalana Government has received funds on the deal. SLPP Candidate D. V. Chanaka told the media at the SLPP headquarters that the Yahapalana Government had signed the agreement and accepted US$ 10 million from the US. The US Department of State in a statement has said that Sri Lanka has signed no agreement and no cash has been disbursed through the deal.

Chanaka said the allegation that the former Government has signed the deal and accepted cash was made by the Committee headed by Prof. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan. He said the US Government can go to the international court and say we had received funds after signing the MCC agreement. “We have to give reasons not to sign it now. We appointed an expert Committee on the Agreement. We could have torn apart the agreement, but we don’t have funds to pay compensation before the international court,” he said.

Minister Wimal Weerawansa told reporters last week that he would not remain in the Government if it would sign the MCC. The President has instructed all Cabinet Ministers to present their views on the expert Committee report on the MCC within a week.

However, former Parliamentarian and National People’s Power (NPP) candidate Sunil Handunnetti told the media that the Government said that the MCC pact would be torn apart when Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected President, but now they are claiming that it cannot be done without a two-thirds majority. Handunnetti said the SLPP camp said during the last Presidential Election that a non-politician should be elected as the President and appealed to the people to vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa and let him develop the country on his own. Now they are going back on what they said and claim that the President cannot develop the country alone and request for a two thirds majority in Parliament.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the banking sector should understand the rural economy and the needs of the people to develop villages. During a discussion at the Presidential Secretariat to review the progress and the future activities of the Rural Development Bank (RDB), President Rajapaksa said export agricultural business should be developed instead of waiting for foreign countries to come into fray. The President said the mere establishment of industries cannot be defined as development insisting that rural entrepreneurship centered on agriculture should be promoted.

He said it is vital to look at the context from the angle of the grassroots level. The President said the Government hopes to achieve economic growth by developing agriculture while assessing people’s needs. In providing loans, commercial banks give priority to the trading sector over the production sector. It is the responsibility of the RDB to encourage farmers to increase their production. President Rajapaksa said that the loan defaulters who had taken large sums of money on a long-term repayment basis should be dealt with according to the law.

While assuring the safety of the Muslim community, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to protect every community under an SLPP Government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Premier addressing an SLPP Muslim convention in Colombo said, “We have taken measures to protect the rights and values of the Muslim community. We have treated every community equally. It will continue under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Government.”

The Prime Minister said, “I must assure that we never ill-treat any community. Even during the war against terrorism, we never ill-treated the Tamil community under any circumstances. We only fought against a terrorist organisation. Today, anyone can travel in any part of the country and there is no discrimination against anyone and we want to pass that on to the next generation.”

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga told the media that every leader engaged in politics should retire and hand over their positions to newcomers to rebuild the country. She told the media after a ceremony held to mark her 75th birthday that, “I was forced into politics but after five years, I understood that a majority of the 225 Parliamentarians who call themselves politicians cannot rebuild the country.

Former Minister and SLPP candidate Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said he was pressurised to take Gotabaya Rajapaksa into custody in connection with the Avant Garde case within three to four weeks of forming the Yahapalana Government in 2015. He said that he was asked to take Gotabaya Rajapaksa into custody by a committee comprising former Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Patali Champika Ranawaka and Mangala Samaraweera.

Addressing the media at the SLPP headquarters, Rajapakshe also accused former Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne of accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million from the Avant Garde Company. He produced three invoices of Rs.5 million each where Senaratne had obtained Rs.5 million each on three occasions, in cheques and the balance of Rs.5 million in cash on another occasion. He said former State Pharmaceuticals Corporation Chairman (SPC) Dr. Sayura Samarasundara had allegedly accepted the money by placing his signature on behalf of Senaratne.

Former Parliamentarian Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was aware of the Bond Scam. The ex-Army Chief at a recent public meeting in Kelaniya said that the then Finance Minister had also been aware of the deal. Fonseka said that the statements by certain UNP members were the cause leading to the defeat at the last election. Meanwhile, former JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti said that many former MPs would not have been able to contest the General Election if the law had been properly implemented on the Central Bank Bond Scam.

Minister Wimal Weerawansa has alleged that the Election Commission (EC) is attempting to reduce the voter turnout at the General Election as it has received a contract from diplomatic missions of European countries to do so. Minister Weerawansa told the media that these embassies can then show that the new Parliament does not have the full mandate of the public but only part of it. He told the public to act intelligently at the General Election by showing that they can support President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with a larger voter turnout than the last Presidential Election.

Earlier, Government and Opposition lawmakers were highly critical of the recent controversial remarks by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman. His statement drew widespread criticism from many parties who claimed that he was trying to glorify the killing of Sri Lankan soldiers during his time as an LTTE militant. Responding to the claim, Karuna Amman said, “I gave an hour-long speech. I spoke about common problems. We lost a lot during the war and that is true. We need no more losses in future.”

Sajith Premadasa instigated criticism based on that speech to attack me. I said, “Your father had helped the LTTE by giving them 5,000 weapons, 5,000 grenades and ten million rounds of ammunition.” Now Sajith Premadasa cannot even move with the Sinhalese.