JO says SLFPers  in govt. sidelined

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Joint Opposition yesterday said the SLFP ministers in the UNP-controlled government had been sidelined.

Addressing the media at Dr N.M. Perera Centre in Borella, former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris citing an example said Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations W. D. J. Seneviratne had, in his statement to Parliament, said he was not aware of the EPF housing loan facility had been stopped.

Prof. Peiris said it had been stopped by the Finance Ministry without the Labour Minister’s knowledge.

Western Province Chief Minister Isura Dewapriya, too, had recently complained of his inability to function properly as UNP members interfered in his duties, Prof. Peiris said. Even Minister of Social Services and Social Empowerment S. B. Dissanayake was opposed the changing of the name of the Samurdhi movement.

Several public institutions had been lined up to be privatised according to Budget 2017 against the policies of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Prof. Peiris said, adding that the UNP had also changed the financial policies according to its whims and fancies and the Finance Minister had taken over some of the functions of the Central Bank.

Prof. Peris said the government had increased water tariff though it had not been mentioned in Budget 2017. That had led to a serve erosion of public faith in the budge, he said.

Prof. Peiris alleged that FCID was there only to harass the members of the Joint Opposition and that outfit always steered clear of UNP politicians.

Prof. Peiris called for President Maithripala Sirisena's immediate intervention to stop the SLFP ministers being sidelined.

Former Minister and LSSP Leader Prof. Tissa Vitharana accused the government of handing over the medical laboratory tests of government hospitals to the private sector to prepare the ground for privatising free health care system. He said the government had proposed to introduce an insurance scheme for students as a step towards that goal.

Prof. Vitarana said the government had enforced several laws to control the media and lashed out at the media for exposing its wrongdoing.

Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Nuwara Eliya District MP C.B. Ratnayake and Gampaha District MP Sisira Jayakody also addressed the media.

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