Packer, Leonne figure in budget debate


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage has queried the government whether Indian porn star Sunny Leonne was to visit Colombo later this year.

Former Sports Minister Aluthgamage was reacting to Parliamentary Reforms and Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke alleging that since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, the previous government had been able to attract Australian casino king James Packer and some prostitutes from an Eastern European country.

Galle District MP was addressing the parliament on Monday (Nov. 30). An irate MP Aluthgamage retorted whether Leonne was expected to visit Colombo.

A smiling Minister Karunatilleke urged MP Aluthgamage to behave like a Royalist.

MP Aluthgamage said that some people in Gampaha liked Leonne.

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP recently claimed that a top casino operator was planning to bring in Ms Leonne to Colombo. MP Weerawansa asked whether those who had campaigned for yahapalanaya would oppose the casino owner's move.

The then UNP-led Opposition thwarted the UPFA move spearheaded by the then Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

MP Aluthgamage yesterday told The Island that Minister Karunatilleke had never denied planned visit by porn star turned Bollywood actress. The yahapalana government hadn't been able to sustain the development drive launched by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said. In fact, the government had reversed the direction of the national economy at the expense of post-war stability and prosperity, Aluthgamage said.

Responding to a query, MP Aluthgamage alleged that some ruling party politicians couldn't stomach Sri Lanka's victory over the LTTE in May, 2009, the MP said.

The Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe would never be able to match previous government's achievements, the former minister said.

Having defeated the previous government by propagating a plethora of lies, the UNP-SLFP coalition was taking the country to a ride. In spite of saving as much as USD 2 bn over the past ten months due to sharp drop in world crude oil market prices, the government had not been able to grant relief to those struggling to make ends meet.

Had the previous administration had been able to save so much of foreign exchange, it would have certainly utilised the funds for major infrastructure projects, Aluthgamage said. The Opposition MP said that the government should explain the circumstances under which USD 650 mn and USD 1,200 mn had been obtained at 6.25 per cent interest after having lambasted the previous government for securing USD 1,500 mn at 5.25 per cent interest.

MP Aluthgamage said that obviously yahapalana rulers had no qualms about spending a lot of money to bring an Indian porn star. Perhaps, they would bring in more such stars depending on the success of Leonne visit, the MP said.

The SLFPer alleged that the government was in the process of depriving the public sector of long standing perks and privileges while investing on porn stars. Leonne wouldn't be able to divert the attention of the struggling masses, the MP said, no previous government had earned the wrath of the people so fast. The people would get an opportunity to protest against the government at the forthcoming Local Government polls, the former Minister said.

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