Parliament | Daily News


International judges won’t be allowed here - Minister

The Government has made it clear to the international community that Sri Lanka would not permit international judges to try war heroes, Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

The minister made this comment in reply to a question by UPFA MP Dayasiri Jayasekara in Parliament yesterday. MP Jayasekara, claiming that the Government consented to allow international judges by co-sponsoring the UNHRC resolution in 2015, questioned whether the government plans to co-sponsor another resolution in Geneva this year and whether its content was revealed to Cabinet or Parliament.

Minister Kiriella said the Government plans get the previous Resolution amended in favour of the country, adding that discussions were going on with the international community in that regard. He also stressed that the Government has never agreed to permit international judges, adding that the resolution only sought technical assistance from them.

Kiriella, observing that the international community lost confidence on Sri Lanka’s judiciary during the previous administration due to the arbitrary sacking of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in less than 24 hours, said the Yahapalana Government has been able to win back this confidence.

“Now we are working closely with the international community. It was the UPFA which severely criticised Sri Lanka’s judiciary during the period of coup since October 26. Those who now speak of war heroes jailed former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka,” he added.

MP Jayasekara at this point said that he has always been against the sacking of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake and imprisoning of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. “I suffered tear gas attacks during protests against the sacking of former CJ Bandaranayake and my vehicle was damaged when we agitated against the arrest of Sarath Fonseka. I stand by this position even today,” he said.

Handouts will not help win elections -Nimal Siripala

UPFA MP Nimal Siripala de Silva said Budget 2019 was an election budget. He reminded the Government that providing relief to the people alone would not help win elections.

Opening the Budget debate in Parliament yesterday, the MP said people often cast their votes to voice their concerns on national political issues that crop up during an election period.

“I am happy about the relief given to the people from this Budget. You were aiming at the elections, and it is acceptable. Every Government follows various tactics to bag more votes when an election approaches. But remember that those relief measures alone would not be sufficient. It was the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration that gave handouts overwhelmingly to the people including bicycles. Public sector workers were given many privileges and many development projects were carried out at village level. Yet, he was defeated. The people use elections as a platform to react to contemporary national issues,” he told the House.

Kandy traffic status quo to remain, three day plan a failure - Kiriella

Traffic management in the Kandy City is authorised by the Kandy Municipal Council, not the central government or the Provincial Council. However, following a discussion with the Provincial Council, the Municipal Council devised a new three-day traffic plan and tested it, Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

In response to a question raised by MP Velu Kumar in Parliament yesterday, he said, “I was informed by the Mayor, a moment ago, that the new plan was a failure.Therefore, I advised him to immediately halt the new traffic plan and re-implement the old plan, under the the Municipal Council.”

MP Velu Kumar said the Kandy city has been turned upside down due to a recent change made in its traffic plan. “This has been implemented based on a unanimous decision taken by the Central Province Governor. It has caused a major traffic congestion in the city. Similar to the night races organized in front of the Dalada Maligawa in the past, a night market was set up recently causing an impact on the culture and the historical values of the Kandy City, therefore attention should be drawn on these matters.”

In his response to the night market, Minister Kiriella said some who recently moved to Kandy from other areas are trying to implement things they have done in those areas. Meat is roasted for bites along the Dalada Veediya at night. These are committed by a faction with no awareness on the culture and historical values of Kandy. The Municipal Council is the authority that should decide whether to continue this trend or not. The Chief Prelates of the Malwathu, Asgiri Chapters have personally raised their objections. Therefore, I have advised the Mayor to take action and immediately suspend this trend under the powers of the Municipal Council.”

Hirunika hails ‘Ladies Only’ train compartments

UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra commended the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry for arranging ‘Ladies Only’ compartments in trains on seven train routes to mark International Women’s Day taking into account harassments women face travelling in public transport.

“It is ironic that the good deeds done by the government is not recognised and appreciated. Even the budget that was presented, has targeted every community and every level of society. It is a far reaching budget,” she said joining in the budget debate.

She suggested that to overcome the practical issues in the proposal to assist those with top A/L results to get into top international universities, the government needs to discuss with these universities and sign an agreement where they would offer either half or full scholarships to these students.

In response to claims by the Opposition that this budget is a dreamer’s budget, Premachandra asked what was wrong in dreaming. “The Opposition only dreams of toppling the government and appointing their President or Prime Minister and continuing with their stealing, but we in the government dream of changing the mind-set of the people who have always been dependent and get them to stand on their own feet. That is why we have presented such a budget targeting the future. This budget has been formulated outlining the future targets on short-term, medium- term and long-term basis until 2025.”

Women’s labour entitlements must be enforced by law - JVP

The entitlements of women and labourers in the private sector must be enforced by law, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake said.

Joining in the Budget debate in Parliament yesterday, the MP said bringing in a law would be more effective than simply requesting from the private sector employers to safeguard the rights of the employees.

The MP also observed that the Finance Minister had not paid adequate attention to solve the problems of plantation workers and unemployed graduates in the Budget. “Even though the Finance Minister claims the Budget 2019 to be gender responsive it has no mentioning of unemployed graduates of whom the majority are women. It neither makes a solid solution to the plantation workers’ demand of Rs 1,000 daily wage.The majority of the plantation workers are also women. The Budget only says that the matter will be discussed,” he added.

MP Ratnayake at the outset of his speech also admired the achievement of 12-year-old Nishi Uggalla of Sri Lankan origin, adding that her achievement shows that gender does not matter in proving the talent. She won the Channel Four’s Child Genius competition in the UK on March 2.





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