Thursday, June 13, 2024

Seventy-five new laws to nab culprits

by malinga
May 19, 2024 1:20 am 0 comment 1.8K views

President Ranil Wickremesinghe unveils the plaque to mark the opening of the new courts complex in Teldeniya. Pic: Courtesy PMD

President Ranil Wickremesinghe went to a famous hotel in Colombo last weekend to attend the wedding of the son of a prominent businessman without informing the Presidential Security Division (PSD).

Only the businessman and the Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka Karunaratne knew that the President would attend the wedding.

President Wickremesinghe, who went to the wedding of a relative of diplomat Neranjan Devaditya, told the PSD that he had another wedding to attend. The PSD was alarmed by this, but since the convoy was already near the relevant hotel, the President went to the wedding with the PSD nearby, surprising those present.

When businessman Shammi Muthumala was accompanying the President to the reception hall, the President stopped on the way and ended the surprised look of those who were there and said, “If it had been informed in advance that I will attend the wedding, the PSD would have come here and checked you all. But there is no such problem when I come without informing,” and everyone applauded when the President said that.

A table was reserved for the President, and on seeing him, State Minister of Higher Education Suren Raghavan also sat there. MP Jayantha Katagoda, Former Minister P. Harrison and Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka Karunaratne and well-known businessman Shammi Muthumala also sat there.

State Minister of Higher Education drew attention to the issue of foreign universities and degrees.

“I also received offers to go to a foreign university for higher education. But I decided to go to a university in Sri Lanka, so I joined the Law Faculty of Colombo University. From that day I knew the value of a degree from a Sri Lankan university,” the President said, revealing a story that has never been said before.

“A degree from a Sri Lankan university is recognised in any country. The advantage of the decision taken by the President then is still valid today.” When Dinith Chintaka said this, the President nodded.

Pointing to Shammi Muthumala, the President said that there are people who have become successful in business in Sri Lanka similar to those who have gone to the Sri Lankan universities and graduated.

Foreign degrees

They also talked about students going abroad to get degrees and the dollars that will be siphoned out of the country.

Higher Education Minister Raghavan pointed out to President Wickremesinghe and the others that if private universities are set up in Sri Lanka, it will not cost the parents even one-fourth of the total amount of the money they spend to send their children abroad for higher education.

Last Sunday afternoon, the President met the Provincial Councillors who represented the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) organised by the Chairman of the Provincial Councillors Forum, Kanchana Jayaratne.

This group pointed out that they are still considered Provincial Councillors in the village even though they didn’t hold their positions for five years.

They said when a decision is taken by the SLPP as a party; they would extend their support to the President. Then the President told them to implement the and agricultural modernisation programs at village level.

Compensation

The Provincial Councillors said that the owners of properties destroyed due to the violence on May 9, 2022 have not yet been compensated. President Wickremesinghe assigned Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka to look into this matter.

Chief of Staff Ratnayaka spoke to Finance Ministry officials about this and he also gave the answer to the Provincial Councillors at the same time.

President Wickremesinghe gave a long explanation of how after taking over the country, he carried forward the first year amid difficulties and how he started giving concessions to the people from the second year and advised Provincial Councillors to celebrate Vesak, Poson and Esala with the people the same way they celebrated the Sinhala New Year.

The President also told the Provincial Councillors to submit their issues to founder of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, Basil Rajapaksa.

President Wickremesinghe, who arrived at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday morning, left for Parliament after several discussions to meet the Political Cabinet as well as the Cabinet of ministers. The Economic Stabilisation Bill was approved on that day and the President said that it should be submitted to Parliament soon and approved.

In Parliament, President Wickremesinghe met about 20 Government and Opposition Parliamentarians and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was also among them.

A girl who came to meet Prof. Ashu Marasinghe revealed a very emotional story in front of the President. She spoke about the weight of the school bag.

Therefore, President agreed to the request to give tabs again, reminding them of those who prevented it.

President meets two sports teams

That evening, the Sri Lanka Cricket team and the rugby team were due to meet the President at the same time, but owing to the delay in arrival of the rugby team, the cricket team that was going to America for the T-20 World Cup met first.

The President told the players to raise the Sri Lankan flag high. Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, intervened to resolve the visa problem faced by several players.

The rugby team followed with the trophy they had won. The President said that the rugby game should not be limited to Colombo and Kandy but spread to other provinces as well. Sports Minister Harin Fernando said that as the initial step, it will be taken to Galle, Kurunegala and Kegalle.

US Asst Secretary of State meets President

US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu met President Wickremesinghe thereafter. Before that, Lu met Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser Sagala Ratnayaka and discussed naval affairs in the region. In addition to the economy, there was also talk about ocean security in the region. The President had also spoken about the ability to prevent unauthorised submarines.

UNP Management Committee meets

The UNP Management Committee met under the patronage of President Wickremesinghe on Tuesday and Wednesday and the President inquired from the Committee about the ability and incapacity of the currently appointed zonal organisers.

UNP General Secretary Range Bandara presented a report with statistics as per the President’s instructions.

The General Secretary presented the facts about their capabilities and the President was satisfied with those facts. They met again on Wednesday and prepared lists related to new appointments in the districts. Following that, General Secretary Range Bandara instructed all the zonal organisers that they should open the zonal offices and start work by June 1.

New courts complex in Teldeniya

President Wickremesinghe went to Teldeniya on Wednesday morning to inaugurate the new courts complex.

A story the President told there went viral on social media. The President said even though a certain section alleges that the Government is trying to protect culprits, it has brought 75 new laws to nab culprits in two years.

When the President went to the Ministry of Finance on Thursday, the Ministers present also drew attention to this story.

“Since then, these people have been showing files saying that the culprits are protected, but they have not brought a single proposal to make laws to catch the culprits. It was the President who did what the country needed regardless of the accusations,” State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.

“Those files were there when we were there as well. There were people such as Weliamuna and Ananda Wijepala. Those who could not take the files to the court even from their own party persons were there at that time are now bringing the files again to deceive people,” MP Wajira Abeywardena said sarcastically.

President Wickremesinghe said, “We made these laws in two years. There are a few more laws to be brought in. We have brought three things necessary to do justice. First, the Constitution was amended. There are three more economic Bills to be brought. On the other hand, we have brought a large number of Bills necessary for the financial affairs of the Government. The Bill on property obtained from crime has also been brought to the Cabinet.

“All these Bills have been passed and the officers should be trained to implement them. These activities will take some time,” he said.

”This is a record, isn’t it?” State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the President.

“I presented a number of Bills in a few years even when I was the Leader of the House. But this is the first time that 75 bills have been introduced in two years,” the President answered lightly.

It was also discussed there about the answer given by the President on linking Stock Market performance to the rumour of calling a General Election.

“One newspaper published this. It is also said that one of its heads has been treated well by those in the Stock Market,” when MP Kokila Gunawardhana said this everyone laughed.

President Wickremesinghe met a group of journalists on Thursday evening organised by the Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka Karunaratne.

The President answered a number of questions posed by journalists, adding some humour as well. In the friendly conversation with the journalists, the President said several important things.

No party has presented an alternative proposal

Pointing out how to deal with the IMF in the future and that there is no other option but the IMF, the President said that no other party has presented any alternative.

However, the President said that many programs are being implemented to encourage investments to strengthen the economy.

The President pointed out that no one has presented an alternative proposal so far, despite how much he has said whether there is any alternative to the IMF.

The President highlighted facts not only about the current political situation of the economy, but also about world politics including the Gaza and Ukraine wars.

SJB organisations meet

A number of organisations affiliated to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) met at the SJB headquarters several times last week to discuss the strengthening of organisational activities targeting the upcoming elections.

SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, SJB Senior Vice President Kabir Hashim, Treasurer Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Secretary Eran Wickramaratne, President of the Samagi Education Employees Union, Rohini Kaviratne, Mujibur Rahuman and MPs participated in this discussion. Everyone congratulated Mujibur Rahuman, who was re-appointed to Parliament, and SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, said that Parliament was again joined by a born orator.

At that time, MP Nalin Bandara asked SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, “What is the story that Diana Gamage’s husband is talking about at a press conference?”

Madduma Bandara said, “The Election Commission had previously issued a statement about this, saying that I am the SJB General Secretary, and its Leader is Sajith Premadasa. The Election Commission has also declared that SJB is a new political party.”

MP Mujibur Rahuman said, “The former Chairman of the Election Commission had recently given a statement to the media that there was no problem with that. Some people also say my decision to quit my parliamentary seat to contest the Local Government Election and re-appointment to Parliament again has had a big impact on other candidates.

“But I came to Parliament after looking into all this. No such problem will arise. But now Minister Bandula Gunawardena has told the weekly Cabinet press briefing that it has been decided to ask the Prime Minister to discuss steps to cancel the nominations in the Local Government elections,’’ he said.

Community Development Committees

General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said, “They are trying to set up Community Development Committees proposed by the President and include the candidates of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) into them and implement projects that will have a grassroots impact on the vote.’’

MP Rohini Wijeratna said, “If they do that, we have to act according to the law.”

Recalling the member promotion program in Moneragala, MP Mujibur Rahuman said, “Now there has been a big change at the grassroots level. This was well understood in the member promotion program in Moneragala district. The General Secretary had put a lot of effort into organising that program.”

Former Mayor of Weligama, Rehan Jayawickrama said, “Yes, when we went to some villages, especially the members of the SLPP and the JVP had come to join us. There was much confusion in the country due to Lal Kantha’s comment to give police and judicial powers to their members to hear cases at village level. When I go to some villages in Weligama, JVP members tell me that they will not be able to live with the people in those villages because of such talk by the JVP.”

MP Rohini Wijeratna said, “One says that they killed rapists and illicit liquor dealers. They also killed a large group of bhikkhus including Ven. Poddaramulle Hemaloka Thera, Ven. Kotikawaththe Saddhathissa Thera, Ven. Vallethota Pannadhassi Thera as well as many priests including Rev. Fr. Michael Rodrigo.

They killed Professors such as Stanley Wijesundara and Patuwatha Withana. They also brutally killed trade union leaders, journalists and some artistes. Were those killed murderers and rapists?

Over 100 people were killed including my father Wijayaratne Banda’s brother. Those were the incidents that happened because the JVP took the law and the judiciary into their own hands. Are they talking about doing that again now?’’

MP Ajith Mannapperuma said, “The people realise these things very well and they will respond at the right time. We have to prepare and present a correct program for the people.’’

Political alliance

The first discussion to create the broadest political alliance to face any future elections was held at the Monarch Imperial Hotel, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte last Tuesday. Nearly 20 Members of Parliament representing several political parties including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) participated.

Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha, Mahinda Amaraweera, Nalin Fernando, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Jagath Pushpakumara, Suren Raghavan, S. Viyalanderan and Members of Parliament Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Nimal Lanza, Piyankara Jayaratne, Duminda Dissanayake, Sudath Manjula, Udayakantha Gunathilaka, Jagath Piyankara, H.M.M. Harees, Ishak Rahuman, S.M.M. Mushaaraff and former MPs Weerakumara Dissanayake and Siripala Amarasinghe were also present.

After MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa’s welcome speech, MPs began to express their views. “The Presidential Election is due to be held in the first week of October. Therefore, all our discussions must end by July 15,” Minister Susil Premajayantha said.

“We will quickly resolve the crises in our party. We are all of one opinion and this group of ours should be the decisive force in the country in the upcoming elections. It has already happened,” MP Duminda Dissanayake said.

“Yes, yes, what Duminda said is right, we should be the group that builds kingmakers in the future,” Minister Nimal Siripala said looking at the group. At the end of the meeting, a local meal was served to everyone.

Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa said that he was the happiest to be one of the 225 Members of Parliament. “Now all 225 members of this Parliament are being slandered. But what happens if there is no representative democracy in this country? In the recent past, 75 Bills necessary for the country were passed in Parliament. I am a person directly involved in these 75 Bills. I may have asked for the approval of the House during the times I was in the Chair to pass these Bills. Even though some people said that the people who raised their hands to pass those Bills in Parliament should not be allowed to come to the villages, the people do not believe those absurd stories now,” Deputy Speaker Rajapaksa added.

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