NCM boomerangs on Opposition | Sunday Observer

NCM boomerangs on Opposition

25 July, 2021

Another futile attempt by the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) to move a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila was defeated by a two-thirds majority in Parliament on Tuesday (July 20).

One-hundred-and-fifty-two MPs voted against the motion with all constituent parties of the Government casting their votes to defeat the motion. Only 61 Opposition Parliamentarians including the majority of the SJB, TNA, NPP and the UNP voted in favour of the motion.

However, some SJB members who supported the Government during the vote on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution had also voted against the NCM. Therefore, the Motion moved against Minister Gammanpila over several matters including the recent fuel price hike was defeated by 91 votes.

Gammanpila thanks Opposition

Minister Gammanpila speaking during the debate on the NCM said the NCM initiated by the Opposition does not contain any allegations specifically against him, thanking the Opposition for giving him far greater importance than their own leader, he said, “The Opposition had asked for a three-day debate whereas even when a NCM was brought against their own leader it was a mere one day debate. Hence, they have proved that I am a far more important figure than their own leader.”

The Minister said that the moment he saw the NCM, he termed it a child’s document as there was nothing specifically against him.

National People’s Power Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament that the NCM brought by the SJB against Minister Udaya Gammanpila is an act of political idiocy and a sheer media stunt.

Dissanayake said that the SJB’s move would further strengthen the Government. Dissanayake said “This is not politics. This is merely a media stunt. If those who moved this motion had a slight sense about politics, they would not have presented this NCM. Why do I say so? Gammanpila represents one faction of this Government. There are some other factions who are not pleased with them either politically or personally.

“We saw Ministers such as Dayasiri Jayasekara and Vasudeva Nanayakkara openly speak about that. Now what did the SJB do? They brought a NCM in that backdrop. Now, those who had started to speak about political conflicts in the Government will become silent. The SJB by moving this Motion made them silent. That is why we say that this is a politically foolish move. This is not politics. This is only a media stunt.”


Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said that the SJB would hold protests in the electorates of all Parliamentarians who voted against the No Confidence Motion (NCM) on Minister Udaya Gammanpila.

The SJB launched its first protest at Divulapitiya on Wednesday (July 21) under the theme ‘Let’s not be afraid of repression’ which was attended by a large number of people. Premadasa told journalists that the Parliamentarians who raised their hand against the NCM had justified the increase of the fuel price.

He said, “Two-thirds of the Members of our Parliament raised their hands saying that it is better to increase fuel prices.” The Opposition Leader said, “We will take steps to make the people aware by protesting in this manner in every electorate which represents a Government MP who raised his hand to vote against the NCM.

Ruling SLPP Parliamentarian Dilan Perera said the NCM moved against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila by the SJB, backfired on the Opposition. He told reporters on Wednesday (July 21). “This NCM, which was an attempt to fish in what was presumed to be troubled waters – in the belief that there were factions forming in the Government – ended up boomeranging on the opposition itself.”

He said the Government comfortably and convincingly defeated the motion on Tuesday (July 20) evening, with 61 MPs voting in favour and 152 against. MP Perera said, “Opposition members, within the House itself, ended up pointing fingers at each other. As UNP Leader MP Ranil Wickremesinghe said, “It was the Opposition’s inability that was exposed by this move,” he said.

Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa told Parliament the Opposition has strengthened the Government by bringing in a NCM against Minister Udaya Gammanpila.

Speaking on the second day of the debate on the NCM, the Minister said, “We see the NCM as a proposition by the Opposition Leader to strengthen the Government. As a Cabinet, we stand up for our collective responsibility. The people gave a mandate to implement the President’s national policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”. We are working to implement those policies no matter what.”

Mudslinging campaign

UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara said the SJB has resorted to a mudslinging campaign against him and the Party on social media in fear of the emergence of the UNP. He was speaking to the media opposite the Criminal Investigation Department after lodging a complaint to the CID regarding a campaign against him and the UNP.

Range Bandara said the SJB group is not attacking the Government but targeting the UNP and its leaders. He said, “We have been instructed by our Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not to insult or be rude to members of the SJB.”

The UNP General Secretary said, “But they have no discipline at all. After the CID finds out who is engaged in insulting us, I will take legal action against them.” He said the SJB is in fear of the UNP. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa contesting the next Presidential Election is not a challenge for us.


Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa said that it is the responsibility of the people’s representatives and officials to act in a manner that does not cause inconvenience to the people at a time when the country is in some difficulty in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister Rajapaksa said this when he met a group of people’s representatives, Governors and District Secretaries at Temple Trees recently. There was a lengthy discussion on the implementation of the vaccination program and the Minister of Finance said that the Ministry will allocate funds for the purchase of vaccines without any conditions, giving priority to ensuring the health of the people.

He also expressed confidence that the country’s economic sectors could be revived soon as the Government has given priority to fully opening up the country by expediting the vaccination program.

Speaking on the future economic program and the manner in which it will be implemented, Minister Rajapaksa stressed the importance and necessity of acting more carefully and vigilantly during the next six months, prioritising the proposals to strengthen the economy. He said that it is necessary to identify the situations where investors are inconvenienced and to focus on ways to encourage investors by minimising such happenings.

Common agenda

UNP Leader MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, plans to meet Opposition political parties to formulate a common agenda on how the Opposition should function in Parliament. Wickremesinghe took this decision after the NCM filed by the SJB against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila was defeated by a two-third majority in Parliament.

According to UNP sources a number of Opposition MPs have told Wickremesinghe that the defeat of the NCM against Minister Gammanpila by a two-thirds majority had given a boost to the Government within Parliament and at grassroots level. Therefore, the UNP Leader is due to hold talks with the Tamil National Alliance, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna shortly. He is also expected to invite the SJB for talks.

Presidential Election - 2024

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that plans to contest and win the next Presidential Election. President Rajapaksa said that in addition to the remaining three years of his tenure he has got another five years to implement his policies. The President’s spokesman Kingsley Ratnayake had posted in his Twitter Account that the President made this comment during a discussion with the heads of the media institutions on July 19.

President Rajapaksa won the 2019 Presidential Election obtaining 6.9 million votes. The next Presidential Election is due in 2024. With this statement, the President has laid to rest mainstream media and media speculation regarding his candidature at the next Presidential Election.

Herd immunity

During the meeting, the President had also emphasised the importance of vaccination for Covid-19 prevention, adding that Sri Lanka is one of the leading countries when it comes to the inoculation drive. He said out that Sri Lanka was far ahead of many developing countries having already vaccinated over 37 percent of the targeted population. Sri Lanka is well on its way to achieving herd immunity as there is an ample supply of vaccines and the vaccination program is being extended to all provinces and districts. All those over 30 could be vaccinated by the end of next month.

UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene had told the media that the All-Party Conference which was summoned by the National Movement for Social Justice is a positive step as such a move to form a common platform is what people want today.

Wijewardene has said that it is a good thing for the Opposition parties to get on to a common platform to talk of issues faced by the people. He said, “No political party in the Opposition can go on its own and do their own thing as what people want is a common platform to resolve their issues.” Wijewardene said UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe may also participate in the next round of discussions.

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader Mano Ganesan had told the media the discussion focused on a few points including the abolition of the 20th Amendment, addressing economic issues and assuring independence of the judiciary. Ganesan had also proposed that the parties should also focus on national integration and a solution to the national issue adding that the TPA will participate in future discussions only if the parties focus on national integration.

“Don’t make it a political game”

SJB Parliamentarian Imthiaz Bakeer Markar said the authorities must not allow any delays in the investigations into the death of the 16-year-old girl, who worked at ex-Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence, due to political reasons.

At a press conference at the SJB Headquarters in Ethul Kotte, the MP said that those who committed offences in this case must be expeditiously investigated and revealed to the public. He said, “Justice delayed is justice denied. Do not drag the investigations unnecessarily and make it a political game. Do not let this incident lead to racial issues by delaying investigations. Reveal the truth.” He asked the investigating bodies and law enforcement authorities not to give into any political pressure during the investigations.

PCoI presents interim report

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) for Appraisal of the Findings of Previous Commissions and Committees on Human Rights and the Way Forward handed over its interim report to President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (July 20).

The Commission in its Interim Report has said that it is not in agreement with the calls to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and highlighted that the PTA should be reformed in line with the laws against the prevention of terrorism in other countries including in the UK. The Commission, which has paid special attention to the Provisions 9, 11 and 13 of the PTA, has made three key recommendations in its Interim Report with regard to the implementation of the PTA in a more democratic manner. The Commission has been mandated to present its final report within the next six months.

TNA deceived

TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran has said that the TNA was deceived by the Opposition when false promises were dished out during the election. He said that the Opposition had given promises to the TNA that they would solve the issues faced by the Tamil people during election time but none of the issues were resolved by the Opposition.

Sumanthiran was addressing the media after participating in a preliminary discussion aimed at forming a broader alliance from the Opposition recently.

He said that no room will be given for the Opposition to deceive the TNA again. Sumanthiran said that the TNA always stood for the protection and promotion of democratic norms and practices. He said, “When we were calling on the Government to ensure our rights, we were branded as LTTE proxies by certain Sinhala forces in the South.” He said that issues faced by the country cannot be solved collectively until political parties in the South and the Governments that come into power understand that priority should be given to solve the Tamil people’s issue in the North and the East.