Newly appointed Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, in his address to Parliament, said Sri Lanka should have ‘three to five regions’ with maximum power devolved to them taking a good example from India as the giant neighbour to resolve the Tamil national question.
Mr. Sampanthan was appointed as the Opposition Leader of the new Parliament yesterday. His Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 16 seats at the August 17 General Elections from the five electoral districts in the north and the east.
He said he would use the opportunity afforded to him to find a solution to the national question.
“Why can’t we have three to five regions in this country taking a good example from our giant neighbour? Despite all diversities they have been able to stay together thanks to their form of governance. Rather than having so many ministers in the centre why can’t we have three to five regions in this country vested with substantial powers of governance? There are many young members of Parliament who could be ministers, chief ministers in those regions. Give those regions maximum power. And allow those various parts of this country be ruled in such a way that the people themselves are best served. In India there are 29 such states. The country is united. The country stays together because people’s aspirations are respected, honoured and implemented by the states which have been constituted in such a way as to preserve linguistic interests, cultural interests, religious interests and so on. That is what we need,” he said.
Asserting that his party would remain an efficient and effective opposition, he said it would support all positive endeavours of the government.
“We will support the government in its endeavours if they are justified and are for the betterment of people. We’ll work closely with other parties of the opposition to ensure that we together are an effective opposition. We would not hesitate to work together and fight for the cause of the opposition whenever it is required,” he said.
Besides, Mr. Sampanthan said his party would not accept the idea to increase the number of ministries in the government. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)