Bankrupt Opposition revels in short-lived false propaganda – Minister Johnston | Sunday Observer

Bankrupt Opposition revels in short-lived false propaganda – Minister Johnston

18 July, 2021

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that those who protest against educational reforms should come up with proposals for a modern education system instead of advocating political agendas. The President said, “It is not possible to maintain only Government universities hundred percent, but emphasised that he was opposed to operating private universities as a business. He said the income generated from private universities should be set aside only for the promotion of education.”

President Rajapaksa on Thursday (July 15) launched the ‘City University’ program stated in the national policy framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’. The first university is due to be set up in the next few weeks in Pinnawala in the Kegalle district. As the foremost step of the program, President Rajapaksa launched the official website to introduce the ‘City University’ program as a concept at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday to coincide with World Youth Skills Day 2021.

The President said that the objective of the ‘City University’ program is to create a citizen who can directly contribute to the economy, or who possess the knowledge to engage in self-employment, at the end of the degree course.

Free to leave Govt

State Minister of Community Police Service Dilum Amunugama said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party won seats at the General Election because they supported the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). If they had contested alone they would not have won even two seats.

The State Minister told the media in Kandy that while appreciating the SLFP’s support at the Presidential Election, they should also give respect and sincerely acknowledge that they won a few more seats due to the support of the SLPP.

Amunugama said, “As a separate party, the SLFP can negotiate and take decisions on their own. If they want to cooperate with the Government, they can stay, or they can leave. But I would acknowledge that their departure would not have any effect on the Government as we are a stable Government with a two-thirds majority.”

The State Minister said those who bring impeachment or No-Confidence Motions will see the power of the Government after they bring them in. He added that although these can be presented, they cannot be won.

Media freedom

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that media moguls cannot be allowed to step out of the county’s legal framework and abuse media freedom. Minister Rambukwella said that he will not hesitate to take legal action against such people under the legal framework as the Media Minister.

He said that media organisations should not expect the freedom of the wild ass. “There should be no confusion between freedom and law and order and therefore, everything must function within the legal framework.”

Minister Rambukwella said that the Government had not taken a decision to suspend the broadcasting licence of any private media institution. He said, “The talk of suspending licences of media institutions is a false story. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has spoken regarding this in Parliament while I was unavailable; I was not given prior notice in this regard. It is said that I brought in lawyers secretly. I did not bring lawyers secretly, but I met them in the open. If a certain media institution is acting surpassing the legal boundaries, we will take action within the available legal framework.”

No Confidence Motion

Senior UNP members said that the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila should be changed into a motion against the SLPP Government. Party seniors had discussed the matter with Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the party headquarters, Sirikotha on Thursday (July 15).

Party seniors said that bringing an NCM against an individual is only a ploy to unite parties of the Government and not the agenda of the Opposition. It was stated at the meeting that the other political parties have not yet reached an agreement on the steps to be taken in the face of the NCM submitted against Minister Gammanpila.

It was stated that not a single opinion has been expressed regarding the NCM among all the members of the SJB. Following the meeting with the UNP seniors, Party Leader Wickremesinghe had also held a closed-door discussion with several UNP legal experts and no information was revealed about that discussion.

Opposition stirs up environmentalists

Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said the Opposition politicians have caused a stir among environmentalists and conservationists, while residents surrounding the area near the proposed Elevated Highway Project connecting the New Kelani Bridge to Athurugiriya, in the vicinity of the Ramsar-accredited Thalangama Environmental Protection Area, supported the project.

The Minister said that even when the bridge was being proposed, some Opposition politicians including Dr. Harsha de Silva claimed it might cause environmental damage and created panic among residents, saying that they would lose their residences.

Minister Fernando said, “Now it is proved otherwise again that under the visionary leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, we develop the country while safeguarding the environment. There will be no damage to the Talangama Wetland and surrounding areas.”

The Minister said the Opposition is so bankrupt that they do not know that their false propaganda is short-lived.


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that there was no threat of Sri Lanka losing the GSP+ concession. Speaking to the media after participating in a recent ceremony held at Kottawa to plant coconut saplings, the Minister said that the fears of the European Union Commission withdrawing Sri Lanka’s access to the GSP+ concession were propagated by anti-government forces.

Minister Gunawardena said, “These stories of the EU withdrawing the GSP Plus are propagated by the very same people who were lobbying for the prosecution of our war heroes in international courts through the UN Human Rights Council. We have initiated talks with the EU and I can assure you that there is no threat of Sri Lanka losing the GSP plus concession.”

Easter Sunday attacks

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith together with several Bishops of the Catholic Church has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa posing a series of questions regarding the investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks and to take action against those responsible for it within a month.

“It is our firm belief that the legal proceedings concerning the Easter terror attacks should end only with the prosecution of all those who were directly involved and all those who assisted them at their behest, all those big-brains that planned these attacks and those who led these attacks, and all those political leaders, State Officials, Police and Intelligence Service Officials who, in spite of being able to prevent these massacres, neglected to do so,” the Church said at the end of a 17-page letter dated on July 12.

The letter stated, “We are saddened by the lethargic pace at which the state machinery is moving in order to find those who are responsible for these attacks, those who planned it and those who, even though they had forewarnings about it and could have easily prevented it, did not fulfill that responsibility and willfully neglected it, and bring them before the law.

We are faced with the puzzle as to why and for what reason those in authority are delaying or neglecting their duty in implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which had cost the public millions of rupees.”

Stressing that people need a stimulus package to overcome the difficulties they are currently facing, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that he will engage in street battles to get it for the people if the Government continues to turn a deaf ear for this demand.

Street battles

Speaking during a recent protest organised by SJB Parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna in Kadawatha, Premadasa said his party will launch street battles to win the demands of the people. He said “We will mobilise people from every nook and corner of this country to launch street battles.”

The Opposition Leader said, “The people want to reduce the cost of living; the farmers need fertiliser and school children want to sort out the issues pertaining to online learning. However, the Government which seemed to be afraid of protests uses the pandemic situation to suppress rights adding that, however, the SJB is committed to safeguard the rights of the people.”

SLFP to meet President

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will meet President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to discuss the alleged neglectful treatment by the Government towards the party. As speculated by the media, a crucial meeting between the President and the SLFP Leaders is due to be held on July 21 at the Presidential Secretariat.

The SLFP has repeatedly accused the Government of neglecting Local Government representatives and failing to involve electoral organisers in Government affairs. Meanwhile, SLFP General Secretary State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara had also recently criticised the attitude of the Government towards their party.

It had been reported that the SLFP Central Committee which met at the party headquarters recently had also lengthy discussions regarding this issue. However, it is learned that the SLFP has decided to meet the President to discuss these issues and has already received an invitation from the President to meet him on July 21.

Finance Minister meets Diplomats

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa met the Ambassadors of the United States of America, Germany, China, Russia, the European Union and the High Commissioners of India and Britain at the Finance Ministry on Wednesday (July 14).

This was his first meeting, with these foreign diplomats based in Colombo, after assuming duties as the Minister of Finance. US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz, German Ambassador Holger Lothar Seubert, Russian Ambassador Yuri B. Materiy, Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, European Union Ambassador Denis Chaibi, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton held bilateral discussions with Minister Rajapaksa at the Finance Ministry.

During the discussions, the Finance Minister said that Sri Lanka has focused more attention on building a green economy, in the implementation of the Government’s national policy framework, “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Minister expected assistance for the promotion of renewable energy in the country.

He also said the Government has focused on developing an eco-friendly transport system. Minister Rajapaksa said, “The Government has drawn its attention to the development of infrastructure facilities for this purpose. The European and British envoys commended the Government’s efforts in building a green economy while focusing on developing the renewable energy sector.


The Sri Lanka Freedom Party Youth Front (SLFPYF) has made a written request to the SLFP Parliamentary group, including its Chairman the former President Maithripala Sirisena, to vote against the proposed General Sir John Kotelawala National Defence University (KNDU) Bill.

Eric Weerawardhana of the SLFPYF, told the media at the SLFP headquarters in Colombo, that after studying the KNDU Bill, a report prepared by the SLFPYF was presented to Party Leader Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and all other Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Ministers, and MPs who represent the SLFP. Weerawardhana said, “We studied the entire Bill and this is an issue for all students in the country. We are of the view that the SLFP Parliamentary group must vote against the Bill if it is not amended in a manner that is beneficial to the country, subject to some regulations, and be made free of militarisation.”

Noting that the SLFP is a major stakeholder in the current Government, Weerawardhana called on the Government not to go ahead with the KNDU Bill in Parliament. If not, he said, all possible steps would be taken to prevent the Bill from being passed in the Parliament.

UNP Government

UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena said that the country will have a formidable UNP Government by the end of 2023 under the leadership of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said that preliminary arrangements are being made to form a strong Government led by Wickremesinghe.

He said, “The UNP is presently working with many forces that brought the present Government into power. These forces include prominent groups in the Opposition.” Abeywardena was addressing the UNP polling booth representatives in Nagoda and Niyagama in the Hiniduma Electorate a couple of days ago.

A large number of party members who left the UNP during the past few years had rejoined the party at these meetings. Abeywardena said that those who left the UNP called for our ouster from the party. “We have sent 18,000 affidavits to such members and those who sign these affidavits and return to the party will be given an opportunity.”