A week after the lifting of emergency regulations, the government yesterday issued a new proclamation under the Public Security Ordinance allowing for the deployment of the army, navy and air force in addition to the police for the maintenance of law and order in all districts of the country.
Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody read out the gazette notification issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the Public Security Ordinance.
United National Party MP Dayasiri Jayasekara took the government to task over the new proclamation and said in this context the lifting of emergency regulations was merely eyewash.
He said the government appeared to have withdrawn the state of emergency as a ploy to hoodwink the international community, which was mounting pressure on the government to strengthen the democratic machinery.
“Emergency regulations were imposed under the Public Security Ordinance. Now, they have been lifted and replaced with yet another regulation under the same law. This is unacceptable. Today, the government has brought a motion in the House thanking the President for the removal of the state of emergency. It is of no use if a similar regulation is being implemented,” Mr. Jayasekera said.
The deputy speaker who was presiding at the time said emergency regulations were imposed under the Chapter I and II of the Public Securities Ordinance, but the new proclamation was being made under a difference section of the same law.
“There is no relevance between the two as a result. Emergency regulations were something different,” he said.
Mr. Jayasekara thanked the deputy speaker for clarifying the issue and asked him not to defend the government on such matters while presiding in parliament.
“There are government members who can respond. I hope you will do the duty of the deputy speaker while being in the chair,” he said. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)