SLFP will never help the Opposition to gain power – Mahinda Amaraweera | Sunday Observer

SLFP will never help the Opposition to gain power – Mahinda Amaraweera

28 November, 2021

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the Government will have to take many unpopular decisions in the future to achieve prosperity, while effectively overcoming the economic challenges globally. He said although the people criticised these interventions, the country and the people would reap the benefits in the near future. The President called on the people to recognise and understand that these measures are being imposed “because we have little other choice in our present situation.”

Exporters commended

Speaking at the 24th Presidential Exports Awards 2021 at the BMICH on Friday, the President appreciated the commitment and the courage of exporters they had to remain in the export sector in the face of Covid-19 epidemic.

He said that issues faced by the export sector will be solved soon, adding that the public and private sectors should team up to achieve export targets. “Several policy interventions, such as the restrictions on certain imports since last year, have had beneficial consequences. They have created space for new local industries to develop. It is essential that these new industries are fostered intelligently.”

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said the SLFP will never help Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa or the characters who were rejected by the people to come back to power.

He was speaking to the media after a tree planting program at the historic Thuparama Stupa in Anuradhapura recently.

“The SLFP, as a party which supported efforts to bring the present Government to power only wants to highlight and correct the shortcomings and mistakes made by the Government,” he said.

Minister Amaraweera said that decisions on his party’s stance at future elections will be taken by the Central Committee at the appropriate time. He said there are allegations that although the Government allocates large sums of money to Local Government bodies some SLFP local councillors are given less consideration in the distribution of money, adding that the SLFP will discuss the matter with the President.

New Constitution

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Parliament on Tuesday, November 23, the Government is always prepared to listen to Opposition criticisms and to absorb any constructive criticism by the Opposition members as well. He said a draft for a new Constitution is being formulated and that it would be presented to all Parliamentarians and debated later.

The Premier was speaking joining the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget 2022. He said that the priority of the Government was drawn to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and to protect the public.

He said that the Government has taken the decisions at the right time for the protection of the people of the country. He further said that no sooner did the Covid-19 patients reported, the Government appointed a Presidential Task Force and the Prime Minister’s office was open round the clock to provide essential services to the public and to health services.

Premier Rajapaksa said, “The Government took over a bankrupt economy in 2019 and the proposals to uplift the economy are included in the Budget.” He said the Opposition members were debating loud and long to gain political advantages as usual and the Government welcomes all the constructive proposals made by the Opposition.

He said that at this decisive juncture we all have to get together to face the challenge before us rather than attempting to engage in disputes, to serve the people.


A heated argument over the conduct of Badulla district SLPP Parliamentarian Tissa Kuttiarachchi brought Government and Opposition lawmakers close to exchanging blows on Tuesday. The argument flared up when Kuttiarachchi refused to tender an apology to SJB MP Rohini Kaviratne whom he had insulted using abusive words.

Kuttiarachchi was making a fiery speech when SJB Parliamentarians Hesha Withnage and Chaminda Wijesiri tried to storm in towards the former. A few MPs from the ruling party benches including Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando, Indika Anuruddha and Kanchana Wijesekera were there at that time.

Serjeant-at-arms Narendra Fernando and Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa also ran on to the well of the House and tried to restore calm. The MPs were pushing each other physically at the well and filthy words filled the air.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said he regrets the conduct of SLPP MP Kuttiarachchi who spoke in a disrespectful and discriminatory manner to female Parliamentarians and females in general.

The Speaker also said that he strictly advises Kuttiarachchi to refrain from behaving in such a discourteous manner. The Speaker said that the Chief Organisers of both parties should inform the Members of Parliament of their parties to prevent such incidents in the future.

He said that if the Members of Parliament continue to behave in this manner in the House, he will have to take strict action in accordance with the Standing Orders to maintain discipline in the House.

SJB MP Thalatha Athukorale raising a Point of Order requested the Speaker to direct MP Kuttiarachchi to make a statement apologising for the way he carried out his speech. Former Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that he proposes to the Speaker that the right to take action should be given to the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus if women Parliamentarians are insulted or harassed.

However, MP Kuttiarachchi responding to the Speaker’s announcement said that he only talked about ‘vegetables’ and had not insulted anyone or made any implications.

He said that when former MP Ranjan Ramanayake was talking about women’s front and back sides in Parliament there were no female MPs to protest against it. He said that he did not mean ill to anybody even though other people see his speech to be vulgar. Kuttiarachchi said that he would apologise if the female MP could repeat the insulting words or lines he had used and prove that the words mean otherwise.

SJB Parliamentarians staged a silent protest in Parliament on Thursday, November 25 against the harassment of women in Sri Lanka. All SJB MPs wore a cloth band printed with the caption “Stop Violence Against Women!”.

SJB MP Rohini Kumari Wijeratne expressed regret that despite a male MP verbally abusing her in Parliament recently, no action was taken to reprimand that MP and he got away with a warning. She said, “If the women in parliament are being subjected to such abuse, one can only imagine what women in rural and other areas of the country have to endure.”

Second Reading

The Second Reading of Budget 2022 was passed in Parliament on Monday, November 22 with a majority of 93 votes. It received 153 votes in favour with 60 MPs voted against including the SJB, the JVP and the TNA. Opposition Parliamentarians A. A. S. M. Raheem, Faizal Cassim, H.M.M. Harees, Ishak Rahuman and Naseer Ahmed also voted with the Government. MPs Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and Diana Gamage also voted for the Budget.

Eleven MPs including Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe (SLPP), ITAK MPs Shanakiyan Rasamanickam and M.A. Sumanthiran, TMTK MP C.V. Vigneswaran and SJB MP Mano Ganesan were absent when the vote was taken. The vote was taken after Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella requested a division.

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the Government will not betray the people who placed their trust in them and the Mahinda-Gotabaya partnership.


During the Second Reading Debate of the Budget, Minister Ranatunga said that over the past two years, the country’s economy and many economies worldwide crashed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Minister said that the Government stands firm on its commitment to the people and will never renege on the pledges made to the people.

He said, “Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa presented his maiden Budget at a very difficult time where no country can afford to give concessions to their people. This is a time when even the world’s most powerful countries are revoking concessions given to the people and are struggling to keep their economies afloat.

“If the price of food items is to be reduced, then production needs to be high. That is why the Finance Minister has focused his attention on creating a production-based economy through this Budget,” he said.

Two-thirds majority

Former President and SLPP Polonnaruwa district MP Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday reminded the Government in Parliament that it had a two-thirds majority because the SLFP members are also in the SLPP parliamentary group.

Participating in the Third Reading debate on Budget 2022, former President Sirisena said that there had been many instances in the past where some Governments caused their own downfall by attacking its coalition partners.

He said, “It is with the 14 SLFP MPs that the Government has a two-thirds majority. Responding to an allegation levelled by Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, MP Sirisena said, “The Agriculture Minister has told this House that I live in a luxury house made by amalgamating three houses. I challenged him to prove it and promised to resign from my MP post if he did so. So far, he has not been able to prove his allegation. What he said was a lie.”

He said when the expenditure heads of the President were taken for debate in this House last Tuesday, Minister Mahindananda said that the former President had used 200 vehicles. He also said that the expenditure of the Presidential Secretariat at that time was around Rs. 3.5 billion. Even if one uses a single vehicle a day, it would take a person 200 days to use them all. That allegation too was a lie. I had been allocated only four vehicles. They sling mud at me.

Former President Sirisena told the House, “Minister Aluthgamage made a very emotional speech. As the former President I too have a right to respond to what he had said. We do not hit. Even if we are attacked, we would not resort to counter attack but we look at the attackers with sympathy and equanimity. If we resort to attack, we would not come down to your level. I must add that if we attack, we would attack in a different way.”

Digging deep

State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera who also responded to Aluthgamage’s remarks said, “It is not easy for us to remain silent when they sling mud at the former President in this manner. Mahindananda Aluthgamage today is like a dancing peacock which does not know that its back is exposed when it dances raising its tail feathers. I call upon Mahindananda to dig deep further because he would find more to his own detriment.

Minister Aluthgamage said, “Dayasiri Jayasekera made a statement while I was not in this Chamber. He had warned that if we dig deep in this pit there would be a strong smell of wrong doings. I too admit that. There could be exposures of many wrong doings if we dig deeper. There would be more uncovering of wrongdoings such as accepting cheques from Arjun Aloysius. Therefore, I do not resort to talk of dirt digging.

Zaharan’s attack

State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe making a statement in Parliament on Friday regarding the statement by former President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament on Thursday that he would attack in a different manner unlike the others, questioned whether he was referring to Zaharan’s attack.

He said, “The former President had made a statement in Parliament and my name had also been mentioned. I must remind him that I am not a tale carrier like some others. They may be having that bad habit. As he stated, the MP who claimed I had carried tales is also in the House and he can be questioned about it now.

The former President also warned that when they attack it would be a whole different sort of attack. I ask him, was Zaharan’s attack one like that? Then, we must take steps to ensure that they won’t be able to carry out such attacks again. We have no issues with the SLFP members and they are with us. However, just because one or two of them leave, that won’t affect us.”

Not against SLFP

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that he is not against the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He said “We have great respect towards the SLFP from where we began our politics.” However, the Minister said that he has issues with those who steered the party during the past few years.

At a function in Yakkala on Friday, Ranatunga said that those who cannot stand by the Government should leave the Government without criticising it. He accused former President Maithripala Sirisena of destroying the SLFP. “They are trying to destroy this Government too,” he said.

SLFP National Organiser and State Minister Duminda Dissanayake on Friday said that the SLFP has the right to engage in politics and no one can take that right away from it. He said “No one can distance our objective of making the SLFP a strong party. It is possible that certain people see the SLFP today as very small and insignificant. However, they should not forget the fact that what they see is their Maha Gedara or ancestral home. The SLFP is proud of its achievements.”

He was addressing the Anuradhapura East Electorate SLFP Bala Mandala.

Dissanayake said that there is no other party in the country which has achieved so many victories. “We are proud to say that Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the SLFP succeeded in ending the battle against terrorism. The credit for the victory against terrorism as a party remains with the SLFP,” he said.