Govt passing only Bills beneficial to it – Opposition

Bills for benefit of the people ignored

by Saman Indrajith

The Opposition yesterday accused the government of being selective in passing Bills in Parliament. It said only Bills favourable to the government were passed.

UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa demanded to know why the government could not expedite the process of bringing in legislation for the welfare of the tenant farmers with the same enthusiasm as it had displayed as regards the enactment of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

Premadasa posed this query when the Chief Government Whip asked for more time to answer a question on the rights of tenant farmers.

"Why cannot the government look at this problem of the farmers as a matter of urgency?" he asked. When it came to matters such as the 18th Amendment, which benefited the government’s plan to cling to power, they were considered urgent and given priority, Premadasa said.

He said that Minister Gunawardena’s late father Phillip Gunawardena had been one of the pioneers who championed the cause of tenant farmers.

Chief Government Whip Minister Gunawardena said that a Bill, drafted to ensure the rights of tenant farmers, had been referred to the Attorney General’s Department.

"We will present it to Parliament when the approval of the departments is granted," Minister Gunawardena said.

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa pointed out to MP Premadasa that the latter could raise the problems of the tenant farmers at the Consultative Committee of the Agriculture Ministry.

Premadasa said that the so-called Consultative Committee had never met in the recent past.

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