Speaker Jayasuriya urged not to certify protection against disappearances Bill


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has been urged by the Joint Opposition (JO) not to certify the hastily enacted Bill for the protection against enforced disappearances.

JO spokesman Colombo District MP Gamini Lokuge yesterday said that they had requested Speaker Jayasuriya to allow a fresh debate and a vote on the Bill. Addressing the media, at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Nelum Mawatha, Battaramulla office, Lokuge said Speaker Jayasuriya had allowed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe to manipulate the legislative process.

Ven. Induragare Dhammarathana Thera, on behalf of Mahajana Rajjya Sabhawa, last week requested Speaker Jayasuriya not to certify the Bill enacted on March 7 as President Maithripala Sirisena personally promised the Buddhist clergy that the government wouldn’t proceed with it.

Lokuge said that in spite of an assurance that a vote on the Bill wouldn’t be taken on that day without accommodating a critically important amendment, PM Wickremesinghe intervened to have the Bill enacted sans the amendment. Lokuge alleged that Speaker Jayasuriya had repeatedly allowed Wickremesinghe to have his way in parliament at the expense of the country.

Commenting on the ongoing strike by non-academic staff of state universities, Lokuge compared the way the government had mishandled both SAITM and non-academic staff issues. The former labour minister accused the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government of not implementing the agreement between the government and non-academic staff.

Lokuge alleged that an attempt was being made to privatise profit making Sevanagala sugar factory. Claiming that the government wanted an influential minister representing the area to take over the factory, Lokuge said that leader of the progressive trade union of Sevanagala Sugar factory Lalith Sripal had been attacked over the weekend in a bid to suppress ongoing protest campaign against the government move.

The veteran politician said that UNP leader Wickremesinghe was hell bent on privatizing all state enterprises. Wickremesinghe wanted foreign or local buyers to take over profitable ventures, Lokuge said pointing out that the dispute over the bid to privatise the Survey department as another example.

The JO group in parliament consists of 52 MPs

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