Jan 11, Colombo: Threats to the freedom of expression of the people’s representatives after the secession from a monarchy and becoming a republics as a result of world political evolution are totally unacceptable, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne said referring to the threatening remarks made by the President regarding MP Harin Fernando.
SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne urged the Speaker and the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security for MP Harin Fernando due to the death threats caused by his speech in Parliament.
Addressing a press conference held at the office of the Leader of the Opposition on Sunday, Mr. Wickramaratne said, according to a speech made by the President during a recent function in Ampara, it is apparent that the President was agitated with a statement made by MP Harin Fernando in parliament recently referring to the President by his first name Nandasena.
MP Wickramaratne said the President has already acknowledged that he had failed miserably as president, saying he had two faces to choose from as former defense secretary and as current president.
He said that as a country with an old democracy in the region, the people used to call former Sri Lankan heads of state as DS, JR, Banda, Sirima and Chandrika and it would not be wrong to call the current President by his first name, Nandasena.
After the President’s response to the statement made by him MP Harin Fernando has requested to tighten his security saying there is a threat to his life and SJB as the main opposition party calls on to take immediate action to ensure his security, said Mr. Wickramaratne.
Referring to the murders, corruptions and frauds that took place during the previous Rajapaksa regime, the MP said that even after 12 years, justice had not been done to the family of Lasantha Wickrematunge.
Although getting Udayanga Weeratunga, who was a suspect in the MIG aircraft deal, revelation of which is believed to have led to the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, deported and back to the country during the Yahapalana government was a success of its judicial process, he is now freely working with the ruling party and it is a breach of trust in the law.
MP Wickramaratne pointed out that cases have been filed in the U.S. Court over the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge and the Easter Sunday attack. A lawsuit was also filed in a British court over the aircraft deal.
“It is a shame that this government, which came to power promising to punish those responsible for the Easter attack and prosecute bond thieves, has not filed a single case in the court on those,” the SJB parliamentarian said.
Speaking further Mr. Wickramaratne said, these days there is a lot of talk about foreign workers.
“They were greeted at the airport with garlands for the election and now they are ignored. Nearly 60,000 people have been rendered helpless and women workers are crying that the Sri Lankan government is not providing them with any formal relief and they have to do impossible things even against the country’s culture because there is no way to make a living. Nearly 60 of them have died due to the Corona epidemic,” the MP said pointing out that the migrant workers provide the country with about $ 7 billion in foreign exchange annually.
“The tourism sector is also at risk due to the Covid epidemic and mismanagement of the economy. Is it possible to develop the tourism industry by bringing tourists from a country with a lower per capita income than Sri Lanka, claiming that the tourism industry is being developed because of the need for foreign currency? As a result, tour guides have been placed under quarantine, forewarning the creation of a separate Covid cluster through those travelers.”
This country has economically and socially retreated because it has no experienced politicians and a bureaucracy that knows how to work with them. The military and the civil service are two areas of specialized knowledge. While the specialties of the two should be applied to the relevant field, it is not appropriate to appoint military officers in every field by rejecting public servants. This is the best example of how governance in any country can be disrupted when close friends and relatives come to power.”
Mr. Wickremaratne said that at a time when politics and governance were in turmoil, carrying a divided administration pitting one community against another, is to close the holes in the failed regime.
The SJB MP said he was ashamed that no one could be prosecuted for these wrongdoings even during the United National Front government’s tenure.